A 50 year-old Belfast man who tried to headbutt a bus driver has been jailed and fined a total of €400 for public order offences.
Tony Southam of 77a Glenville Park, White Abbey Belfast appeared before Donegal District Court today. He represented himself and pleaded guilty to a number of charges.
Garda Inspector Denis Joyce told the court the defendant had been apprehended this morning after causing a disturbance as he tried to board a bus at Sligo Bus Station.
Garda Neasa Ni Chearnaigh responded to a call from the bus company. The driver told her that the accused had refused to pay the full price of the ticket and, because of his aggressive nature, he was not going to let him on the bus. When Garda Ni Chearnaigh asked the accused to desist, he “threatened the driver, swore at the driver and the guards and tried to headbutt the driver”. She said that all the passengers had to be taken off the bus.
He had €40 on him, which would have been sufficient to cover his fare, she continued. He was intoxicated and had alcohol with him on the bus.
Garda Chearnaigh added: “I believe it was a combination of factors - that he would not give the money and had alcohol taken - that resulted in his aggression.”
Taking the stand, the defendant said: “I believed I only had €20 on me, then at station I found out that I had €20 in my bag. I didn’t refuse to pay anything.”
Judge Kevin Kilrane asked: “Why all the aggression?”
“It was the drink,” Southam replied.
Judge Kilrane warned the defendant that he would have to pay his fine before the court finished sitting today.
Southam said he only had €40 on him
“You’re going to jail then,” Judge Kilrane concluded.
He fined Southam €200 forthwith, ten days in default for using threatening or abuse words or behaviour and imposed the same penalty for failing to comply with the direction of a garda.
Convictions for being intoxicated in a public place and failing to provide name and address were taken into consideration.