Passenger who was 'humiliated' by bus driver is awarded €10,500
A passenger who a judge said was "utterly humiliated" by a Dublin Bus driver who had accused her of fraud has been awarded €10,500 damages in the Circuit Civil Court for defamation of character.
Circuit Court President Mr Justice Raymond Groarke said Lana Froze had been put through a humiliating experience after the driver "held passengers to ransom" by detaining them in the bus until she had agreed to get off.
The court had heard that in March last year Ms Froze boarded a 33 bus in Rush to go to her work at the Premier Inn in Airside, Swords, and €2.50 had been debited from her Leapcard.
Ms Froze, of Woodland Park, Rush, said the usual ticket cost of €3.05 was reduced to €2.50 when using a Leapcard, but the same driver had a few weeks earlier told her she was required to pay an extra fare.
Barrister Liam Bell, for Ms Froze, said that when she boarded the bus the driver stopped the vehicle two stops before her destination, approached her and told her she had to get off as this was her bus stop.
The court heard the driver had, in front of other passengers, told her that she had only paid to go to Swords Main Street. As Ms Froze had refused to leave, the driver had gone back to his seat, switched off the engine and waited, refusing to drive any farther.
Ms Froze said she had felt ashamed and embarrassed by the incident which had taken place in the full view of other passengers, who had been anxious to get to work.
She felt she had no choice but to leave the bus and continue her journey on foot.
She said she had later complained to Dublin Bus, which had then apologised and offered €7,500 compensation, which she had refused.
Judge Groarke, in awarding her €10,500 damages along with her legal costs, said the apology had not mentioned Ms Froze had been humiliated although she had done absolutely nothing wrong.