‘This wasn’t handbags’ - taxi driver hit up to 15 times in parking row

Bus-driver Petrus Hoffman pleads guilty to assaulting Seán O’Connor in Ennis last year

Solicitor Daragh Hassett said taxi-driver Seán O’Connor was parked in a yellow box at the time of an incident which lead to a row with bus-driver Petrus Hoffman.

Solicitor Daragh Hassett said taxi-driver Seán O’Connor was parked in a yellow box at the time of an incident which lead to a row with bus-driver Petrus Hoffman.

 

A taxi-driver was punched in the face and stomach up to 15 times by a bus-driver after they got into a row over parking in Ennis, Co Clare last year.

Petrus Hoffman, the bus-driver, was bringing rugby fans home from an Ireland v Australia rugby international on November 27th last when the incident with Seán O’Connor occurred in the car-park of the Temple Gate Hotel.

Daragh Hassett, solicitor for Mr Hoffman, said of the incident: “This wasn’t handbags. Mr Hoffman clearly landed some punches on this man.”

Mr Hoffman, of Huntsfield Avenue, Dooradoyle, Limerick, has since lost his job as a result of the row, which Mr Hassett said lasted for 10 seconds.

Insp Kieran Ruane told Ennis District Court that Mr Hoffman alleged that the way Mr O’Connor’s taxi was parked resulted in his bus hitting a bollard and the vehicle being damaged.

As passengers were disembarking, Mr Hoffman got out of the bus and started to verbally abuse Mr O’Connor over the way he had parked, Insp Ruane said, adding that one witness to the incident saw Mr Hoffman punch Mr O’Connor 10 to 15 times in the face and stomach.

‘Appalling case’

Judge Patrick Durcan told Mr Hoffman, who pleaded guilty to assault, that it was “an appalling case...by the nature of the assault but also by virtue of the circumstances surrounding it.”

Judge Durcan said the court had to consider a prison sentence, a disqualification and a heavy fine for Mr Hoffman.

Mr Hassett said Mr O’Connor was parked in a yellow box and that his client blames the taxi driver for doing what he did and the damage to the bus.He said that his client had brought €2,000 to court to compensate Mr O’Connor.

In his victim impact statement, Mr O’Connor said that the assault “left me traumatised” and that he had been advised by a doctor not to work for a week afterwards “due to bruising, headache and stress”.

“Subsequently, I am wary of strangers approaching me,” he added.

Mr Hassett said Mr Hoffman was now back doing driving work and that a conviction would make it very difficult for him to get more work.

The case was adjourned to November 8th.