Assault on taxi drivers ‘totally unacceptable’, says judge

Assaults on taxi drivers are “totally unacceptable” according to a district court judge after hearing how one driver was hit in the side of the face and the vehicle window broken.

Mark Caslin (27 ) with an address at 50 The Meadows, Ballybrit, appeared before Galway District Court on Monday charged with assault, two counts of criminal damage, being intoxicated in a public place, and threatening and abusive behaviour at Claddagh Cabs, William Street West, on April 20, 2013.

Garda Stephanie Moylan gave evidence that a call was received after a taxi driver was attacked and hit into the side of the face. The window of the taxi was also broken and when the taxi driver threatened to call the gardai Caslin took his mobile phone. By the time gardai arrived at the scene they found the taxi driver down an nearby alleyway desperately trying to hold on to Caslin who was extremely irate and aggressive with everyone present. The court then heard how damage worth €125 was caused to the taxi window and €150 worth of damage to the mobile phone.

Caslin’s solicitor explained how his client has no recollection of the incident and that he phoned the Garda station to apologise and made a full admission. He added that his client has come up with compensation of €300 but would raise more money given time.

Garda Moylan explained that Caslin has not come to the attention of gardai for some time but has seven previous convictions, the latest of which include being intoxicated in a public place and threatening and abusive behaviour in 2008 and criminal damage and theft in 2006.

“He went out drinking and he didn’t remember getting into such a state that he actually hit the driver,” said Judge Mary Fahy to which Caslin’s solicitor replied that his client had not had a drink for a long time and it had a bad effect.

Judge Fahy then noted how “taxi drivers are at the coalface of this type of violence” and that not only was the driver assaulted, his window broken, and his phone taken, but he also suffered loss of earnings too.

Caslin was convicted and ordered to pay a further €500 in compensation. The matter was adjourned to May 21.

 

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