Man who was racially abused by bus driver wins case for assault
Published 05/02/2016 | 14:01
A man who was racially abused by a bus driver has won a legal action for assault in the High Court.
Mr Justice Max Barrett said he accepted that Anthony Doran had thought he was about to be hit by a Bus Eireann driver and had instinctively recoiled.
Doran had appealed a decision from the Circuit Civil Court which last year dismissed his claim for assault, battery and false imprisonment. Bus Eireann denied the claim.
Judge Barrett said in a reserved judgment, that in February 2014, Doran’s car had broken down near Tara Street, Dublin, in an area where buses stop and park.
He had pushed his car back to create the maximum space for buses pulling in and had been waiting inside his car for a recovery vehicle.
Doran, of Charlestown Place, St Margaret’s Road, Dublin, had alleged that although several buses had manoeuvred around his car without difficulty, one bus came up behind his car and used its horn.
He had approached the bus to explain his situation but as the driver had not wanted to open the window he returned inside his car. Doran claimed that shortly afterwards the bus driver drove up and blocked him from opening his car driver’s side door.
Doran had alleged that as he opened his car window, the bus driver raised his fists and said: “You get out of my way now,” before adding “I will finger you up the bum black boy before I f**k you up the ass.”
Bus Eireann had denied the incident happened in that manner or that the bus driver had used racist language.
The company denied Doran had been assaulted and falsely imprisoned by the bus driver.
The court had heard that a “heated” exchange had happened between the two men after Mr Doran allegedly showed a disrespectful middle finger gesture to the bus driver.
Judge Barrett said that what most likely happened was that Doran reached his hand out of the car to wave the bus on and this was mistaken as a rude gesture by the bus driver.
He said he accepted the bus driver was a decent man who had no aversion generally against black people and regretted his actions, but he was satisfied he had been very het up and had used very coarse foul and aggressive language and racially coloured diatribe.
“A sad irony in this case is that Mr Doran, an Irishman who is black, was racially abused by a white man who has come to this country from abroad and thus might be exposed – unacceptably, were it to occur – to some form of intolerance,” the judge said.
Judge Barrett said he was satisfied the bus driver had committed an assault on Doran, for which the payment of damages must follow.
“His approach to Mr Doran’s car was aggressive, the tone of his remarks was aggressive, the entirety of the episode was clothed in aggression on the bus driver’s part, and the language used contained a conditional threat,” Judge Barrett said.
Following Judge Barrett’s decision Bus Eireann came to a financial agreement with Doran.