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[First 3 paras herefrom] Tonie Farrell is a grandmother, and the sort of person who posts messages on her Facebook page that say, "be an encourager. The world has enough critics already." So why was she beaten and permanently maimed by an Ontario Provincial Police officer when she'd stopped to help a mugging victim?

That's the question she and her lawyer, Angela McLeod, are trying to answer after a judge this month issued a blistering judgement against OPP Sergeant Russell Watson, saying his attack on the 49-year-old caused "catastrophic injuries."

Ironically, the judge issued his statement while categorically dismissing charges of obstructing a police officer laid against Ms. Farrell by Sgt. Watson.

I consulted the dictionary entry for 'irony' but remain mystified. Even without para 3, para 2 already discusses the judge's castigation of Sgt Watson, which implies the judge's rejection of Sgt Watson's charge against Ms Farrell. So what in para 3 could be possibly be ironic?

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I don't think the word ironically is used well in this article. The placement implies that the judge has done something ironic, but I don't think there is anything unexpected about dismissing the police officer's case.

Instead, it might be referring to the fact that the police officer attempted to charge Ms. Farrell with assault while she was hospitalized with injuries that police officer had inflicted. The irony would be that the person being charged with assault is the one that was assaulted.

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It's possible the author means it's "ironic" (actually more like "disappointing") that the judge said this while dismissing charges against Ms. Farrell, when such comments "should" normally be made about a person while upholding charges against them, not about a police officer while dismissing charges against the defendant.

It's also possible, perhaps more likely, that the sentence got mangled by an editor, or the author's thought got mangled while writing. Then what the author meant to say is more like, "The judge issued his statement while categorically dismissing charges of obstructing a police officer ironically laid against Ms. Farrell by Sgt. Watson". That's is, it's "ironic" (actually more like "outrageous") that having assaulted her and permanently injured her, he charged her with inconveniencing him.

"Irony" and "ironic" have multiple slightly different meanings, and are often misused or their meaning stretched. All you can really deduce from it is that something about the situation seems funny, or incongruous, or congruous but in an unexpected way.

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You're right, there is nothing ironic about the judge saying the police officer caused catastrophic injuries to the Samaritan and then dropping the charges that that police officer charged the Samaritan with.

What would be ironic is if the judge was saying something like the police officer acted outside his duty and caused injury to a bystander yet dropped charges against said police officer. However, I haven't read the article so I doubt the police officer had any charges brought against him in the first place.

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