Postman faces €20,000 bill after row over 5c receipt

John Moran (45) loses defamation claim and found to have ‘abused’ Dublin Bus driver

John Moran, of Coolevin, Ballybrack, Co Dublin pictured leaving the Four Courts  after his Circuit Civil Court action for damages was dismissed. Photograph: Collins Courts

John Moran, of Coolevin, Ballybrack, Co Dublin pictured leaving the Four Courts after his Circuit Civil Court action for damages was dismissed. Photograph: Collins Courts

 

A 45-year-old postman, found to have “abused” a bus driver for not giving him a receipt for five cent, on Wednesday 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 €2.20 into an automatic ticket machine in a bus in Dún Laoghaire 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 19th, 2013, he entered the 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, gardaí 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 gardaí being called. Later people on the street had asked him why he had been ordered off a bus.

He told Ms Ward 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**king same.”

Perfectly justified

The judge said bus driver Brendan Connolly had been perfectly justified in asking 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.