11 January 2001 Edition

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Damages awarded against RUC

North Belfast Assembly member Gerry Kelly was awarded £9,000 plus costs in an assault case taken against the RUC. Kelly sued RUC Chief Ronnie Flanagan for damages after he was batoned on the head by an RUC officer during a protest against an Orange Parade marching through a nationalist area of Belfast.

The Sinn Féin politican had joined residents protesting against Orangemen parading through the nationalist Springfield Road in West Belfast on 24 June last year. Film footage of the assault captured on video showed Gerry Kelly attempting to calm demonstrators and standing with his back to the RUC officer who struck him from behind.

After the attack, Kelly was taken to hospital, where he required three stitches to the head wound sustained by the baton blow. This is the second time in 12 months that Gerry Kelly has been awarded damages following an RUC assault. In January last year he was awarded £4,000 after being handcuffed and dragged away during a protest against the loyalist Tour of the North parade through a nationalist area.

Speaking after the award, Kelly questioned why no charges had been brought against the RUC man involved in the unprovoked attack. Kelly said the RUC must have been able to identify the assailant.

Kelly hit out at the RUC's ``wall of silence'' after his solicitors were denied documentary evidence relating to the case.

An Phoblacht
44 Parnell Sq.
Dublin 1

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