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Passenger 'rugby tackled' bus inspector in fare row

A DUBLIN bus passenger "rugby tackled" and punched an inspector after he got into a dispute over his Leap card, a court heard.

Sergiu Nicocenco (33) assaulted the man after insisting that the card reader had "beeped" when he passed it - but the one he had was invalid.

The accused, a construction worker, was fined €200 after Dublin District Court heard that things had got out of hand and "escalated" on the morning.

Nicocenco, of Mountbellew Rise, Lucan, pleaded guilty to assaulting the inspector, David McCarthy, at Bachelor's Walk on November 28, 2013.

The court heard the driver of the number 25 bus reported the incident.

Mr McCarthy along with three other inspectors boarded the bus as it came in to the city centre from Lucan.

He told the court that he reached the back of the bus, came across the defendant and asked him to produce a ticket. He did so, but it was not validated and had expired.

It had not been in use for "a couple of months".

When asked if he had another, the accused said he did not, adding: "The driver knows." There was no problem with the equipment and when he went back to explain this, the accused tried to barge through him and "rugby tackled" him to get by.

Mr McCarthy had to push the accused into the wheelchair bay and Nicocenco "struggled, with a few punches".

The victim had to put the defendant into an arm lock to hold him and a colleague came to his assistance.

The defendant had no previous convictions of any kind.

Nicocenco had just got a job in construction and was on his way to work on the morning, his barrister said.

He maintained his Leap card "did beep" when he went past the machine. He had another card in his pocket but it was expired and he could not find the one he had used.

Nicocenco tried to explain himself and when he did not succeed, "things escalated."