Tuesday 12 December 2017

Bus driver assaulted and wrongfully arrested by garda awarded almost €50,000

Dublin Bus Driver, Valentin Ticu, leaving the Four Courts.Pic: Collins
Dublin Bus Driver, Valentin Ticu, leaving the Four Courts.Pic: Collins

Tim Healy

A DUBLIN Bus driver has been awarded €49,400 damages after a judge found he was assaulted and wrongfully arrested by a garda who "lost his temper."

The High Court award was made to Valentin Ticu (38) of Palmerstown  Drive, Dublin.

He claimed he was forcibly removed from the bus he was driving, placed in handcuffs and pushed against a patrol car by Garda David Maguire in an incident after 11pm on October 4, 2011 at the junction of Kimmage Road and Sundrive Road in Dublin.

Mr Ticu sued the Garda Commissioner and Garda Maguire seeking damages for assault, false imprisonment and wrongful arrest. The claims were denied.

The award was against the Garda Commissioner.

Mr Justice Michael White found Mr Ticu was wrongfully arrested and assaulted.

The judge said Garda Maguire lost his temper after the driver did not comply with his direction to move the bus away from the scene of a traffic accident.

He dismissed Mr Ticu's claim he was maliciously prosecuted by the defendants.

Afterwards Mr Ticu's solicitor Liz Howard said her client was happy with the court's decision.

In his judgment, Mr Justice White, who viewed CCTV taken on the night of the incident, said the case arose after the double decker bus Mr Ticu was driving stopped because gardai were at the scene of a traffic accident.

Mr Ticu, a Romanian native, was directed by Garda Maguire to move his bus which could not continue along its designated route because of the accident.  Mr Ticu said he could not deviate from his route without contacting his depot.

There followed an exchange between the driver and the garda, the account of which had been contested by both sides, the judge said.

The driver claimed the garda was verbally abusive and aggressive after he failed to move the bus.

The garda  claimed the driver refused to comply with his direction and was uncooperative.

The judge said following the interactions, which lasted several  minutes, Garda Maguire removed Mr Ticu from the bus.

Mr Ticu was arrested and taken to Sundrive Garda Station in a patrol car. 

He was later charged with public order and road traffic offences which he denied and which were dismissed in a District Court hearing when the judge accepted the bus driver's evidence and that of two independent witnesses.

Mr Justice White said  Mr Ticu erred by not complying with the garda direction to move the bus.

But Mr Ticu, the judge said, found himself "in a bind".

He had been given a direction by a garda to move but under the rules of Dublin Bus he could not deviate from the route he was working without permission from his employer.

When approached by the garda he was awaiting instruction from an inspector as to what action to take.

The judge accepted the evidence of a passenger who had described Garda Maguire as being "out of control" during the incident.

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