Woman who spat in baby's face on Bus Eireann bus is spared jail
Published 15/04/2014 | 07:31
AN INTERPRETER assaulted a 20-month-old boy by spitting in his face after flying into a rage because he was kicking the back of her seat as she travelled on a bus.
Damaris Dickenson (31) screamed abuse at the baby's father then spat into his face, with spittle also landing on the child, a court heard.
She went on to rain punches on the father's head after the Bus Eireann service from Drogheda to Dublin was stopped.
Dickenson was found guilty of assaulting the Chinese man and his baby and was given a six-month suspended sentence at Dublin District Court.
She had denied the charges, claiming the victim and other passengers who came to his aid had “ganged up” on her and racially abused her.
She maintained she felt intimidated and spit accidentally came out of her mouth as she shouted because she had a problem with her teeth.
Judge Ann Watkin said the accused, a Kenyan, had “lied through her teeth” and made up false accusations of racism against the father and the other passengers.
Dickenson, a mother of two, of Belvedere Road, Dublin, was convicted of assaulting the baby and assaulting his father once on the bus and again at D'Olier Street last December 18.
She was also found guilty of causing a breach of the peace at D'Olier Street by screaming abuse before the gardai arrived.
A charge of assaulting the man's wife was dismissed.
The court heard the Chinese couple were on the bus when the accused turned around and asked them to stop their child kicking the back of her seat.
The bus was packed and the mother tried to stop the baby on her lap kicking. The accused turned again and complained and the baby started crying.
The mother apologised but the accused kept shouting abuse. The father admitted getting angry and calling Dickenson a “f***ing bitch” but denied any racial slurs.
Dickenson got off, and when the man followed her on to the street, she punched him three times in the head.
Both parents accepted it was possible the spit was not directed at the child.
The judge said the accused had felt irritated by the child but the assaults were an “absolutely unjustified” over-reaction.
Dickenson had “lied” about the victim and other passengers being racist and had done a disservice to them and to genuine victims of racism.