Man admits ‘unprovoked attack’ on bus driver

The courthouse at Bishop Street, Derry.
The courthouse at Bishop Street, Derry.

A man who admitted a ‘completely unprovoked attack’ on a bus driver has received a suspended sentence.

James O’Reilly, with an address in Drumcoo, Dungannon, pleaded guilty to assault on May 28, last year.

Derry Magistrate’s Court was told the 41-year-old stepped onto a bus in the Foyle Street depot and punched the driver.

He was drunk at the time and knocked the driver’s glasses off.

The court heard O’Reilly struck the driver a further two times before being removed from the bus.

During police interview, the 41-year-old said be couldn’t remember anything about the incident and said he was sorry.

The injured party sustained a small scrape to the top of his head and his left cheek was swollen.

Defence counsel Nicki Rountree said her client was abusing alcohol at this time and some mental health issues had ‘resurfaced’.

The barrister said the 41-year-old had no recollection of the incident because of the alcohol he had consumed.

However, she told the court he ‘apologised immediately when he was told about his behaviour’.

She said the defendant has engaged with an alcohol treatment programme and has taken himself away from the city.

Suspending a three month sentence for two years, District Judge Barney McElholm ordered O’Reilly to pay £250 compensation to the injured party.