Suspended sentence for taxi fare dodger

A Roscommon man, with psychological difficulties, received a suspended sentence at Galway District Court this week for failing to pay a taxi driver €350 after hiring him to go to Cork and back.

Shane Pouch (27 ) with an address at 8 Barry’s Avenue, Tarmonbarry, Roscommon, pleaded guilty last Monday to dishonestly making off without paying a taxi fare amounting to €350 after obtaining the services of Thomas Conneely.

Inspector Ernie White told the court that on June 28, 2008, at Eyre Square the defendant had hired a taxi to bring him to Inchydoney Hotel in Clonakilty, Cork, in order to collect his baggage. By the time Pouch had gone to Cork and then back to Galway the fare had come to €350. When the taxi driver handed over the baggage and asked for the fare to be paid Pouch said that he didn’t have the money on him and would pay the fare in a day or two. However, he failed to pay it and instead left the city. The defendant had 11 previous convictions mostly for road traffic offences.

The defendant’s solicitor explained that his client suffered from a psychological condition and that he has been put forward for assessment while being remanded in custody at Arbour Hill prison. He said that Pouch is on medication for his condition but on this occasion failed to take it.

“€350 is a lot for a taxi driver to be out of pocket,” said Judge Mary Fahy who added that since no compensation has been forthcoming she was left with no choice but to impose a one month prison sentence.

Pouch’s solicitor replied that his client had not had a chance to pay it back as he has been in custody. He then requested the sentence be suspended to allow for psychological treatment to continue. Judge Fahy then suspended the sentence for six months on his own bond of €300.

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