Tuesday 25 October 2016

Former professional boxer broke bus driver's nose in dispute over driving

Declan Brennan

Published 20/07/2016 | 17:16

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Stock picture

A former professional boxer is to be sentenced next November for breaking a bus driver's nose during a row over driving behaviour.

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Anthony Fitzgerald (32) of Gloucester Place, Dublin city pleaded guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to assault causing harm to Toufik Slali on North Circular Rd., on November 18, 2014.

The victim was driving to a school when a Mini pulled out in front of him with no signal, Garda Robert Tomkin told the court. The bus driver had to brake hard and beeped his horn.

Fitzgerald jumped out from the driver's side of the car and started shouting that his children were in the car. When the driver didn't respond the accused got on to the bus and told Mr Slali: “You fucking foreigner, talk to me when I speak to you”.

The victim said that Fitzgerald then head-butted him on the nose and he fell back into a seat. The victim told gardai that Fitzgerald then punched him.

Paul Comiskey O'Keeffe BL, defending, said his client disputed this version of events. He said Fitzgerald denied head-butting or punching him but admitted striking the victim with an open hand.

Judge Melanie Greally said the use of the palm to administer a blow was of a different degree than it would be if Fitzgerald were not a professional boxer. She said given this fact, whether he inflicted the injuries using his hand or a head-butt would have little effect on her sentence.

She said she would impose sentence next November.

Gda Tomkin told Cormac Quinn BL, prosecuting, that Fitzgerald has 31 previous convictions including assault, criminal damage and two firearms and offensive weapons offences. He has 23 road traffic offence convictions and was disqualified from driving for ten years.

The victim experienced ongoing dizziness, blurred vision and headaches after the attack. A fracture of his nasal bone was fixed in surgery.

Mr O'Keeffe said Fitzgerald told gardai that he saw something in the victim's hand and believed he was going to hit him so he attacked first.

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