Dublin bus driver awarded €49,000 after Garda ‘lost his temper’

Valentin Ticu claimed he was forcibly removed from bus by Garda David Maguire

Dublin Bus Driver Valentin Ticu at the Four Courts. Photograph: Collins.

Dublin Bus Driver Valentin Ticu at the Four Courts. Photograph: Collins.

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A driver with Dublin Bus has been awarded €49,000 damages after a High Court judge found he was assaulted and wrongfully arrested by a Garda who “lost his temper”.

The award was made to Valentin Ticu (38), Palmerstown Drive, Dublin who claimed he was forcibly removed from the bus he was driving, arrested, placed in handcuffs and pushed against a patrol car by Garda David Maguire in an incident after 11pm on October 4th, 2011 at the junction of Kimmage Road and Sundrive Road in Dublin.

Arising out of the incident, Mr Ticu sued Garda Maguire and the Garda Commissioner seeking damages for assault, falsely imprisonment and wrongful arrest. The claims were denied.

In his judgment, Mr Justice Michael White found Mr Ticu was wrongfully arrested and was assaulted.

Garda Maguire lost his temper after the driver did not comply with his direction to move the bus away from the scene of a road traffic accident, the judge said.

The Judge dismissed Mr Ticu’s claim he was maliciously prosecuted by the defendants.

Judgment was against the Garda Commissioner only. Afterwards, Mr Ticu’s solicitor Liz Howard said her client was happy with the court’s decision.

In his judgment, Mr Justice White, who had viewed CCTV images taken on the night of the incident, said the case arose after the double decker bus driven by Mr Ticu was stopped by Gardaí who were at the scene of a road traffic accident.

Mr Ticu, a Romanian native, was directed by Garda Maguire to move his bus as, due to the accident, the bus could not continue along its designated route. Mr Ticu said he could not deviate from his route without contacting his depot.

The judge said an exchange followed between the driver and the Garda, the account of which had been contested by both sides. The driver claimed the Garda was verbally abusive and aggressive after he failed to move the bus while the Garda claimed the driver refused to comply with his direction and was uncooperative.

The judge said, following the interactions, which lasted several minutes, Garda Maguire removed Mr Ticu from the bus. Mr Ticu was arrested and taken to Sundrive Garda Station in a patrol car and, arising out of the incident, was later charged with public order and road traffic offences. He denied those charges.

When the matter came before the District Court, the judge hearing the case accepted the evidence of Mr Ticu and two independent witnesses and dismissed all the charges, Mr Justice White noted.

On the night of the incident, Mr Ticu erred by not complying with the Garda direction to move the bus, and by opening the doors of the bus to let some passengers off when the bus was stopped at the junction, the judge said.

Mr Ticu found himself “in a bind”, the judge said. He had been given a direction by a Garda to move the bus, but, under the rules of Dublin Bus, could not deviate from the route he was working without permission from his employer.

When approached by the Garda he was awaiting instruction from an inspector as to what action to take, the judge noted.

Having viewed CCTV of the incident, the judge said he was satisfied Garda Maguire lost his temper when Mr Ticu failed to comply with his direction. What had occurred was “unnecessary”, he said.

He accepted the evidence of a passenger on the bus that evening who had described Garda Maguire as being “out of control” during the incident, the judge said.

He ruled Mr Ticu was entitled to damages totalling some €49,400, plus his legal costs.

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