Man gets suspended sentence for abuse of taxi driver

Trusting and respecting your taxi driver is a lesson that was hard learnt by a Ballinrobe man who received a suspended sentence this week for “totally unacceptable” public order offences.

A drunk and abusive Patrick Grimes kicked up a stink when he accused a taxi driver of taking a longer and more expensive route.

The 27-year-old, originally from Cornmarket, Ballinrobe, Mayo, but living at 18 Lios Cuiseul, Ballybrit, Galway, was brought before Galway District Court last Monday charged with being intoxicated in a public place and with threatening and abusive behaviour at University Road on March 7, 2009.

Inspector Michael Coppinger told the court that at 1.05am a taxi driver phoned the gardai complaining of problems he was having with passengers. When gardai arrived at University Road they found the defendant to be very drunk and abusive. He added that the defendant, who had attempted to run away, did pay the fare.

Defence solicitor Valerie Corcoran said that her client had been out with his girlfriend having a few drinks and they got a taxi to go home. However, Grimes thought that the taxi driver was taking a “long and more expensive route”. Ms Corcoran added that it turns out the driver had actually taken the short route.

The defendant has seven previous convictions which include public order offences in June 2006, an offence under Section 9(1 ) of the Firearms and Offensive Weapons Act, theft in March 2006, and drug possession in 2004.

Ms Corcoran said that after the last conviction Grimes did attend an addiction counsellor and has not come to the attention of gardai in three years.

In view of his previous convictions Judge Fahy convicted the defendant and imposed a three months sentence suspended for 12 months on condition that he enter a bond of €300 to be of good behaviour. For being intoxicated in a public place he was fined €200.

Judge Fahy noted that it was “totally unacceptable” to abuse a taxi driver who was “doing his work”.


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