A 20-year-old man refused to pay an €11 fare and instead, along with another man, pulled the frightened taxi driver from the car and viciously beat him before stealing his mobile phone and fleeing the scene, the Galway District Court heard this week.
The incident was described as “horrific” by Judge Mary Fahy before she imposed a five month suspended sentence on Jake Mulraney with a previous address at Trean, Killimor, Galway, but who now resides in the UK. Last Monday Mulraney pleaded guilty to assualting Khalid Ahmed, contrary to section 2 of the Non Fatal Offences Against the Persons Act, and making off without payment at Ocean Wave on December 2, 2009.
Inspector Ernie White told the court that at 4.20am the defendant and another individual got a taxi from Renmore to Ocean Wave in Salthill however when they arrived at the destination the two passengers refused to pay the €11 fare. A dispute soon arose and then suddenly the driver was pulled from the vehicle and hit a number of times in the head and face, resulting in minor cuts. The two men took the taxi driver’s mobile phone and then fled the scene. Inspector White added that Mulraney has no previous convictions.
“It [the incident] is horrific. It was just €11 for the fare, they refused to pay and instead pulled the driver from the car,” said a shocked Judge Fahy.
“It is extremely serious,” admitted defence solicitor Olivia Traynor, who then said that her client fully accepts he did wrong and made full admissions. She explained that Mulraney spent the last few years living in Ireland with his father but the defendant now resides in the UK where his mother also lives. Ms Traynor said that Mulraney has shown that he is not taking the matter lightly as he has “come back for each court appearance”.
“He wants the court to know that he is disgusted with himself,” said Ms Traynor who added that Mulraney had written a letter of apology for the injured party and had brought €1,000 in compensation with him to court.
“What he did was outrageous,” said Judge Fahy, before convicting Mulraney and imposing a five month sentence to be suspended for 12 months on condition that he enter into a bond of €300 to be of good behaviour. The making off without payment offence was taken into consideration. A bench warrant was also issued for the other person involved in the incident.