Court is told Translink driver 'feared for safety' of passengers when car blocked path of bus at Toome

Court is told Translink driver 'feared for safety' of passengers when car blocked path of bus at Toome

A TRANSLINK driver feared for the safety of passengers when a car blocked the path of a bus near Toome, a prosecutor told Ballymena Magistrates Court.

Details emerged as Martin Joseph Maguire (53), of Hillhead Road, Knockloughrim, admitted charges of 'obstructing traffic' and 'jaywalking'.

The prosecution lawyer said a bus driver told police that at around 8pm on September 30, 2020, he was working on the Derry/Londonderry to Belfast route "when a white Seat blocked his path onto the roundabout at the Moneynick Road".

The prosecutor added: "The bus driver then moved the bus into the other side of the road out of fear for his passengers. The male then alighted from the Seat, walked in front of the bus, demanding that a female be allowed to board the bus".

A defence solicitor said it involved Maguire standing in front of the bus and District Judge Nigel Broderick said: "That wasn't very smart".

The judge added: "He drives his car across the path of the bus, blocks the bus, all to get somebody on to the bus?" and the prosecutor said: "Yes".

The defence solicitor said: "It was at the junction where the bus was taking off. The bus had actually stopped in the 'Park and Ride', it wasn't that it was a moving bus.

"He pulled in front of the bus as it was stopped and about to take off so there was no danger to the bus driver or any passengers in the bus because he just basically blocked the bus from driving off.

"He had a passenger that had to get back to Belfast, to a hostel. He was very concerned that she had missed the bus and unfortunately he did the wrong thing and now finds himself before the court for what could well be serious matters.

"He has asked me to apologise to the bus driver. He was anxious for the passenger to get to the hostel and she was going to lose her place in the hostel if he didn't get her on the bus at eight o'clock and that is what the problem was".

Imposing a one month jail term, suspended for a year; along with a £100 fine, Judge Broderick said: "When you interfere with public transport in this way I think there has to be a consequence. You may have thought you weren't doing much wrong but we can't have people pulling up in front of buses stopping their path. They are public service vehicles and they are not to be interfered with."

  • The incident is understood to have happened at this area near Toomebridge. Picture: Google Street View.