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Bottle thrower was pulled off bus and 'kicked like football'

AN ELECTRICIAN pulled a young man off a bus by the back of the neck, punched him and "kicked him like a football" after the man threw a bottle at him while he was sitting at a stop.

Andrew O'Neill (23) admitted there was some pushing and shoving between him and the victim Eireann Gilbert, but claimed it was just "handbags".

He said Mr Gilbert was exaggerating the incident, which lasted seconds, so he could make a claim.

Mr Gilbert told Dublin District Court he had a bloody nose, two cracked teeth and bruising to his right side following the attack.

Garda Graham Doolan said Mr Gilbert was "shaking" when he met him shortly after the assault. A judge found O'Neill, of Beech Park in Lucan, guilty of assaulting Mr Gilbert.

O'Neill's friend and neighbour, Michael Kirwan, also in his 20s, had an assault charge struck out against him after Judge Denis McLoughlin said there was no evidence against him.



PIZZA

Mr Gilbert said he was running for a bus in Lucan village about 11.30pm on July 27, 2008, when three men sitting at the bus stop asked him for a cigarette.

He told them he didn't smoke, and they then asked for a drink. He said he threw over a half empty energy drink bottle at them.

Mr Gilbert said the bus stopped, he stood on the step and he was pulled by the back of neck off the bus. His head hit off a wall, and he fell into a bin.

He claimed O'Neill was on top of him, hitting him and punching him. The court heard he fell down on the ground, was punched in the face, and his nose started to bleed.

Mr Gilbert said he was treated like a football, and the assault has left him very nervous about going out.

Cross examined by Michael Staines, Mr Gilbert denied he initially named a third man as his attacker. He also denied he told gardai he had been stabbed.

In his evidence, O'Neill said he was eating pizza at a bus stop when a bottle hit him on his side. He said he was shocked, and turned to see who had hit him.

Mr Gilbert was a few feet away, and he said to him: "Why did you throw the bottle?"

O'Neill said he was told to "f**k off", so he approached Mr Gilbert as he felt it was not acceptable to throw a bottle.



PLASTIC

He said Mr Gilbert put his hands on him first, and there was pushing and shoving. He denied any punches were thrown, saying Mr Kirwan and another man told the pair to "leave it, let's go", and he walked away.

Finding O'Neill guilty of assault, Judge McLoughlin said O'Neill "totally overreacted" when he was hit with a plastic bottle.

The matter was adjourned to a date in October for sentencing.

hnews@herald.ie


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