Thursday 19 October 2017

'Two children would know better' - security guard loses €75k damages claim after altercation with garda applicant on Luas

Conor Finnegan, former Security guard with LUAS Photo: Collins Courts
Conor Finnegan, former Security guard with LUAS Photo: Collins Courts
Photo: PA

Ray Managh

A "CANTANKEROUS" old man, who claimed he had been assaulted, imprisoned and defamed by a security guard on a Luas city centre platform, has lost a €75,000 claim for damages against the tram company.

Circuit Court President Mr Justice Raymond Groarke said two children would not have behaved in the fashion Brendan Marshall, himself a security guard, and Conor Finnegan, former security man with Luas and now a garda applicant, had acted.

Judge Groarke said that while Mr Marshall had been “argumentative, difficult, aggressive and abusive” Mr Finnegan had been “unnecessarily belligerent” over whether Marshall had a valid ticket and could be allowed on the Luas.

Marshall (69) of Rossfield Crescent, Brookfield, Tallaght, Co Dublin, told the court he had been restrained by two security men at Jervis Street junction for allegedly shouting and roaring “move, move up” to passengers as he tried to get on the packed tram.

He told barrister Eamon Marray, counsel for the Luas Light Rail operator Transdev Ireland and STT Risk Management, that he had been grabbed by the wrist and bruised when approached by Finnegan and another security man.

Mr Marray, who appeared with Ciaran McIntyre of Hayes McGrath Solicitors, told Marshall it would be claimed he had waved a Public Service Pass in Mr Finnegan’s face and had said it was a ticket which it was not.

Brendan Marshall (69) after his Circuit Civil Court action for damages was dismissed. Pic: Collins Courts
Brendan Marshall (69) after his Circuit Civil Court action for damages was dismissed. Pic: Collins Courts

Marshall, an old age pensioner, said he had been assaulted, detained (imprisoned) on the platform and defamed in front of a packed tram and other passengers waiting to get on it.  He denied having been abusive or shouting and roaring at other passengers so he could step onto the tram.

Finnegan, who said he was now training as a guard in Templemore, told the court his attention had been drawn to Marshall shouting at passengers.  When Marshall was asked to step off the tram he had alleged he had been assaulted and that the Luas security man should not have put a hand on him.

Finnegan said that as a Luas security official he was empowered to refuse an aggressive passenger travel on the tram and did not necessarily have to call the gardaí.

Judge Groarke, dismissing all of Marshall’s claims said: “Two children wouldn’t have behaved in this fashion. They would have known better than to engage in this sort of carry on and would have walked away”

Mr Finnegan had known that Mr Marshall, who claimed he had been called a Dub and a mouth, was not in the first flush of middle age and had decided he would put manners on him.

“The Luas security officials should have stood back and allowed this elderly and cantankerous gentleman, who had a card which allowed him to access the Luas, get on the tram,” Judge Groarke said.

The Judge told Mr Marray he could not find any legal basis of Mr Marshall having been assaulted, imprisoned or defamed.  He made no order as to costs against Marshall.

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