Court tells pensioner to pay €20k to black-belt traffic warden after attack

A pensioner has been ordered to pay €20,000 to a traffic warden, who holds a black belt in karate, after “an appalling assault”.

Ennis Circuit Court heard that warden Martin Ryan, who also worked as a bouncer, was diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder as a result of the attack.

Mr Ryan was bitten in the ribcage and scratched by Marcus Kelly, aged 70, of 3 Hermitage, Ennis, Co Clare, at Arthur’s Row, Ennis, on Jul 11, 2008, over a ticket given to Mr Kelly’s disabled wife, recently deceased.

In the criminal courts, Mr Kelly was fined €250 for the assault and given the Probation Act on appeal.

Arising from the same incident, Mr Kelly brought a personal injury action against Mr Ryan and the town council.

Recounting the incident, Mr Ryan of Magowna, Inch, told the court Mr Kelly was very strong and tried to claw at his eye.

Mr Ryan said he put his arm around Mr Kelly’s neck and forced him to the ground. That is when he was bitten by Mr Kelly.

The warden said the 5ft-tall pensioner “then started to complain that he couldn’t breathe and that he had a heart condition. I said to him ‘if you calm down, I will let you up’”.

Mr Ryan was summoned to a council meeting on the attack, where he said “they kept asking me if I put my hands on the person’s neck”.

Mr Ryan said sometime after the attack, the fish in his outdoor pond at his home were taken out of the water and placed in a line, while his partner’s car’s exhaust was interfered with over two weekends. “I don’t know if these things are connected or not connected to the incident, but it happened around this time and it caused a lot of stress.”

He added: “At night I was finding it hard to sleep and some nights the incident would come back.”

Judge Tom O’Donnell said Mr Kelly had carried out “an appalling assault” on Mr Ryan “and the level of violence was way over the top”. He ruled Mr Kelly pay €20,000 in general damages and €309 in special damages.


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