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'An appalling case': Bus driver attacked taxi driver in fight over parking

He allegedly punched the taximan 10 to 15 times in the face and stomach.

File photo
File photo
Image: Shutterstock/Lloyd Carr

A BUS DRIVER bringing home Irish rugby fans got into a late-night fight over parking with a taxi driver and allegedly punched the taximan 10 to 15 times in the face and stomach.

Petrus Hoffman’s solicitor Daragh Hassett said his client lost his job as a result of his assault on taxi driver Sean O’Connor, 57, in November 2016.

Hoffman, of Huntsfield Avenue, Dooradoyle, Limerick, was bringing home Irish rugby fans after the Ireland versus Australia rugby match last November.

Inspector Kieran Ruane told Ennis District Court Hoffman got into the row with O’Connor in the carpark of the Temple Gate Hotel in Ennis shortly after midnight on 27 November.

Ruane said Hoffman alleged that the way O’Connor’s taxi was parked resulted in his bus hitting a bollard and sustaining damage.

The inspector said that, as passengers were disembarking, Hoffman got out of the bus and started to verbally abuse O’Connor over the way he was parked.

According to the inspector, one witness said Hoffman punched O’Connor 10 to 15 times in the face and stomach. Hoffman has pleaded guilty to assaulting O’Connor.

Hassett said: “This wasn’t handbags. Hoffman clearly landed some punches on this man.”

Judge Patrick Durcan said: “This is an appalling case and a very serious case – by the nature of the assault but also by virtue of the circumstances surrounding it.”

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

Hassett said: “I hope to persuade you differently, judge.” He said O’Connor was parked incorrectly on the night in question and was parked in a yellow box.

Compensation 

Hassett said Hoffman was an excellent employee who took particular pride in his job, and that he blames the taxi driver for doing what he did and the damage caused to the bus.

Hassett said, as a result of the 10-second row, Hoffman – a married man with a teenage son in secondary school – lost his job. Hassett said his client had €2,000 in court to compensate O’Connor.

In his victim impact statement, O’Connor said the assault “left me traumatised”.

He said: “I was left bruised with a severe headache. I was unable to work, on doctor’s advice, for a week due to bruising, headache and stress. Subsequently, I am wary of strangers approaching me.”

Hassett said Hoffman is back doing some work for the State that involves driving and that a conviction would make it very difficult for him to get more work.

Hassett said his client has no previous convictions. Judge Durcan adjourned the case to 8 November.

Read: ‘Number of shots’ fired and man arrested as gardaí foil hit in Dublin

Read: Garda breath test report confirms extra 500,000 bogus checks

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Gordon Deegan

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