Judge queries man’s alcohol intake as €60,000 claim dismissed

Stuart French said he had two drinks before falling on bus due to driver slamming on brakes

Stuart French, of Elm Grove, Ballybrack, Dublin is pictured leaving the Four Courts after a Circuit Civil Court action. Photograph: Collins Courts.

Stuart French, of Elm Grove, Ballybrack, Dublin is pictured leaving the Four Courts after a Circuit Civil Court action. Photograph: Collins Courts.

 

A €60,000 damages claim by a man who was injured in a fall on on a Dublin Bus has been dismissed by a judge, who suspected that the man consumed more alcohol on the night than he admitted.

Stuart French, of Elm Grove, Ballybrack, Co Dublin, told Circuit Court President Mr Justice Raymond Groarke, he went shopping in the Killiney Shopping Centre on February 22nd, 2016 and stopped at the Graduate bar afterwards for two drinks before getting the 45A bus.

He said he was sitting at the back of the downstairs section of the bus and stood up to ring the bell as his stop was nearby. He said the bus driver did not seem to be slowing down so he went to ring the bell a second time.

Mr French said the bus driver continued to drive on so he stood up a third time to tell him he had missed his stop. He said that as he did this, the driver slammed on the brakes which caused him to fall forward down the bus. He said he injured the left side of his body including his knee and wrist.

Under cross-examined by Seán Coleman, solicitor for Dublin Bus, it was put to Mr French that both the driver and an independent witness thought he was fairly intoxicated at the time. Mr French denied being drunk.

It was also put to Mr French that a companion of his on the bus had said to the driver “he is locked” after the fall. This companion later told the court he had actually asked Mr French “are you locked?”.

Judge Groarke said he was compelled to conclude that what actually happened was that Mr French stood up for the bell, missed the bar and fell forward. He said he was unable to see how the bus driver had been at fault.

The judge said he suspected Mr French had consumed more alcohol on the night in question than he admitted in his evidence. He dismissed the claim and awarded costs against Mr French.