In April 2007 Mr. Sutherland was patrolling with a colleague when they were received a call about two youths robbing firearms from a house in Kilmacthomas, Co. Waterford. Mr. Sutherland told the High Court that he saw the two youths fleeing in a Seat Leon. As Mr. Sutherland and his partner approached the Seat, the youths drove off and a high – speed chase ensured. Mr. Sutherland said that the Seat suddenly made a hand – brake turn and drove toward their Garda car and they could not avoid a head – on collision. Mr Sutherland told Justice Bernard Barton the two youths got out of the car and his partner and himself then began to pursue them on foot. The youths fled to a beach and swam to a nearby island. They were apprehended later that day.
The High Court heard that Mr Sutherland suffered from neck pain and back pain as a result of that accident and attended hospital the next day. Mr Sutherland further added that he developed depression, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and was unable to return to work. In 2010 Mr Sutherland was informed that he was forced to retired on medical grounds by reasons of “infirmity of his mind.”
Mr Sutherland who sued the Minister for Finance claimed he did not have the intention to retire early. Counsel for the state were satisfied that Mr. Sutherland was a ” very courageous and genuine man.” Justice Bernard Barton awarded him €80,000 for pain and suffering, €75,000 for loss of earnings and €7,126 for medical expenses. Mr Sutherland was awarded €162,126 total in compensation.