Wednesday 13 December 2017

Postman who 'abused' bus driver over five cents faces legal bill of €20k

John Moran leaving court. Photo: CourtPix
John Moran leaving court. Photo: CourtPix

Ray Managh

A POSTMAN (45) found to have “abused” a bus driver for not giving him a receipt for five cent, today lost a €75,000 claim in the Circuit Civil Court for defamation and now faces a legal costs bill of close on €20,000.

John Moran, of Coolevin, Ballybrack, Co Dublin, told Judge Jacqueline Linnane he had put €2.20cent into an automatic ticket machine in a bus in Dunlaoghaire and had to ask the driver for a receipt which would allow him to later claim a five cent refund from Dublin Bus.

Moran said that after having finished his delivery round on September 19, 2013, he entered the No 70 bus to go home and put €2.20 into the machine for his €2.15 fare.  He had to ask the driver to press a button to print his five cent refund receipt.

When the driver had asked him if he was all right he had turned to him and said: “I’m grand.  I just don’t like people trying to rob me.”  The driver had ordered him off the bus and, when he refused, the gardai had been called.

Moran told barrister Jeri Ward, counsel for Dublin Bus, that he had been defamed by being publicly ordered off the bus and mention of the gardai being called.  Later people on the street had asked him why he had been ordered off a bus.

He told Ms Ward, who appeared with Orlagh Ryan of CIE Group Solicitors, that he had not been aggressive and abusive to the driver and denied having called him “a wanker” or saying “you are all the f***ing same.”

Judge Linnane said bus driver Brendan Connolly had been perfectly justified in asking Mr Moran to get off the bus.  His refusal had resulted in other passengers being delayed for up to 40 minutes and two other men becoming “extremely threatening, abusive and intimidating” to the driver.

She was satisfied Mr Connolly had acted professionally at all times.  Another passenger, Donal McDermott, had heard shouting by the two other men, one of whom had said he would have Mr Connolly’s job.

“If Mr Moran had not been verbally abusive to the driver and got off when asked to, none of what the driver had to endure subsequently would have happened,” the judge said.

She accepted fully Mr Connolly’s account of what had taken place and told Ms Ward her client had no case to answer and dismissed Moran’s defamation case against Dublin Bus.

Awarding legal costs against Moran the judge said she thought it was appalling what the driver had had to endure.

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