No Garda ‘likely’ to be prosecuted after Dublin man died while being restrained

Ronan Lawless (35) died at Beaumont Hospital on November 23, 2022

Ronan Lawless. Photo:

Seán McCárthaigh

No garda is likely to face a criminal prosecution in relation to the death of a Dublin man who suffered a cardiac arrest while being restrained by officers last year, an inquest has heard.

Ronan Lawless (35) of Tara Court, Balbriggan, Co Dublin died at Beaumont Hospital on November 23, 2022 around a week after he was admitted to hospital after gardaí were called to his home.

A sitting of Dublin District Coroner’s Court heard from Inspector Liam Hickey of the Garda Síochána Ombudsman Commission that it was unlikely that any prosecution was likely to arise in relation to the death of Mr Lawless.

“No criminal proceedings are being contemplated but we are continuing our investigation,” said Insp Hickey.

However, he stressed that the ongoing nature of the GSOC inquiry was not to imply “any misconduct by a garda.”

The deceased’s brother, Darren Lawless, gave evidence of formally identifying his brother’s body to gardaí at the city mortuary in Whitehall.

In a statement, Garda Michael May, said a number of exhibits had been seized in relation to the death of Mr Lawless but no details were provided.

The coroner, Aisling Gannon, said postmortem results had shown that Mr Lawless had died from complications arising from a lack of oxygen to his brain.

The coroner said the deceased had also suffered an out-of-hospital cardiac arrest when his heart stopped suddenly.

The inquest heard this had occurred after Mr Lawless had been restrained in a prone position.

The coroner said a toxicology report also confirmed a high level of cocaine in his body at the time.

Insp Hickey sought an adjournment of the inquest for a period of six months to allow GSOC to complete its investigation.

Ms Gannon granted the application and adjourned the case until May 28, 2024.

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