Failure to pay taxi fares could end in sentences, warns judge

A district court judge has warned that those who fail to pay taxi fares could soon face custodial sentences as the problem is increasing in the city.

Judge Mary Fahy made the comment at Galway District Court after hearing the case of a 24-year-old woman who after a night of drinking refused to pay for a taxi fare.

Judge Fahy noted that failure to pay for fares is causing taxi drivers “a lot of bother” and that people seemed to think that it is a minor offence. She warned that if it continued she would start giving out custodial sentences for it.

On Monday Marie Mongan with an address at 24 Gealcarrig Park, Newcastle, pleaded guilty to threatening and abusive behaviour and obstruction at Shop Street on December 31, 2009, and to failing to pay for a €15.25 fare having obtained the services of a taxi at Gaelcarrig Park on March 26, 2009.

Inspector Mick Coppinger told the court that on March 26, 2009, gardai were on patrol in Gaelcarrig Park when they were stopped by a taxi driver who said that the passenger was picked up at Galway Crystal and taken home. The woman, who was lying on the back seat totally inebriated, refused to pay for the fare. When gardai attempted to take her out of the taxi she became abusive. The abuse continued at Galway Garda Station.

On December 31 at 11.10pm the defendant and her partner had got into an altercation with security at Taffe’s bar. When gardai arrived Mongan obstructed them by trying to free her husband.

Judge Fahy convicted Mongan and imposed a total fine of €600.

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