A 28-year-old who punched a man at a bus stop has been fined £400 for common assault.

Liam Priestnal had previously pleaded not guilty to the offence but on Thursday (April 27), when a pre-trial review was due to be held, changed his plea to guilty.

He was also ordered to pay the victim £200 compensation and to pay £200 prosecution costs.

Prosecuting advocate Barry Swain told the court that the victim was on a bus at Station Road in Port St Mary on August 11 at 11.15pm.

Priestnal had also got on the bus and started asking the driver and passengers for a light for a cigarette.

There was also a dispute about him paying the driver, so the bus was unable to pull away.

The victim said that the driver was uncomfortable so he had offered Priestnal a light and encouraged him to get off the bus with him.

The two men got off the bus and the victim produced a lighter.

However, Priestnal then punched him on the side of his face, causing him to fall to the ground.

Mr Swain said that it had been an unprovoked assault and that the victim hit his head on the ground, but fortunately was not seriously injured.

He suffered a small cut to the lip, pain to the jaw and some bruising.

Priestnal was then said to have pulled him up in what appeared to be an effort to hit him again, but did not strike him a second time.

The victim flagged down a passing vehicle and asked the driver to call the police.

Priestnal left the scene but was later arrested.

The defendant was interviewed by police but gave ‘no comment’ responses to all questions.

A witness at the scene confirmed seeing Priestnal punch the man.

A probation report said that Priestnal, who lives at Lheannag Park in Douglas, had mental health issues.

He said that, at the time of the offence, he was quite unwell and had been sofa-surfing after his life had deteriorated.

Priestnal was now said to be working with the drug and alcohol team (DAT) and mental health services, and living with his mother.

The report said that the defendant had previously worked as a scaffolder and was having a trial with a scaffolding company next week.

Priestnal was said to have a previous conviction for an assault but some time ago.

He told probation that he could not recall events at the bus stop.

The report concluded that community service would not be suitable, due to the defendant’s mental health and the fact that he was starting work shortly.

Probation was also deemed not necessary, due to him already having support from DAT and mental health services.

The recommendation was for a financial penalty.

Defence advocate Paul Rodgers asked magistrates to follow that recommendation.

Mr Rodgers said that it was an unusual case and that footage had shown his client being pushed off the bus, though he conceded that the push had not been very hard.

The advocate said that Priestnal’s previous assault conviction had been almost 10 years ago now and that he had stayed out of trouble for a long time.

He also pointed out that it had been eight months since the latest offence and nothing further had occurred.

Mr Rodgers also asked magistrates to consider the article eight human rights of Priestnal’s child.

Magistrates ordered him to pay the fine, compensation, and costs at a rate of £10 per week.