A bus driver was followed to the bus station on Parnell Place in Cork and when he turned around to see the man behind him he was punched in the face.
Gary O’Halloran, 40, of Cork Simon Community, shouted: “You hit my friend,” and he then proceeded to punch the bus driver, striking him in the nose and mouth.
Sergeant Gearóid Davis said the 55-year-old driver was terrified and that members of the public intervened to protect him that night.
O’Halloran pleaded guilty to a charge of carrying out an assault on the driver on November 1, 2022. While this was a simple assault charge, he had one previous conviction for assault causing harm dating back to 2003.
Diarmuid Kelleher, solicitor, said the accused could not remember anything of the incident.
“When he was shown CCTV of the incident he was completely shocked.
“He said, ‘I can say it was me but I don’t remember anything about it’. He was in a very bad place at the time,” Mr Kelleher said.
The solicitor said that up to the age of 36, the accused had been working, in a stable relationship, and had a house with his partner. However, this relationship ended and around this time his mother died.
“He lost everything and was living on the streets and in hostels.
“He has a key worker in the Simon Community now and they are trying to put him on Suboxone to get off heroin — he wants to get to a stronger position. He is sober at the moment and off drugs,” Mr Kelleher said.
Judge Olann Kelleher said that because the defendant was getting treatment and trying to get further help he would impose a five-month sentence suspended on the condition that he keep the peace for two years.
O’Halloran said: “Thank you very much, Judge.”
Outlining the background to the incident, Sergeant Gearóid Davis said: “The bus driver was walking on Oliver Plunkett Street at 8.20pm that night on his way back to the bus station. As he arrived he looked around and saw a man he had seen earlier on Oliver Plunkett Street standing next to him.
“He shouted, ‘You hit my friend’. He swung his right fist and it connected with his nose and mouth. Members of the public intervened and pulled the defendant off the inured party. He was terrified of him. He swung at him again and he hit him in the nose and jaw. He did not need medical attention,” Sgt Davis said.
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