Monday 5 December 2016

'N*****r'... 'd***head': Taxi driver punched and racially abused by drunken passenger in fare row

Eimear Cotter

Published 02/07/2016 | 17:43

Taxi
Taxi

A TAXI driver was punched and racially abused by a drunken passenger in a fare row.

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Eamon Finnegan (28) claimed he'd agreed a fare of €20 with the taxi driver and he put €50 on the dashboard.

However, the taxi driver said Finnegan had only shown him €20 in his wallet.

He said Finnegan punched him, demanded change of €30 and called him a "n*****r".

Judge Anne Watkin gave Finnegan a four-month sentence.

The defendant was found guilty before Dun Laoghaire District Court of seriously assaulting a taxi driver.

In his evidence, the taxi driver said he picked up Finnegan at Camden Street at around 4am on September 21, 2014, and he asked to be taken to Stepaside.

The taxi driver asked Finnegan if he had any money, and he showed him €20 in his wallet.

The taxi driver said a fare of €20 was agreed, but when they reached Aikens Village, Finnegan claimed he'd given him €50.

The taxi driver said Finnegan demanded his change and became verbally abusive, calling him "n****r" and a "d*ckhead".

Laughing

The taxi driver said he was scared and drove towards Stepaside Garda Station, which he didn't realise had been shut.

He claimed Finnegan started laughing, and opened the passenger door to get out.

He said Finnegan then turned and punched him to the shoulder and face.

The taxi driver said Finnegan ran away but returned to get his mobile which he had dropped, and punched him again.

In his evidence, Finnegan, a fitter from Curraghboy, Co Roscommon, denied assaulting the taxi driver or calling him names.

He said he'd been in town with a friend and hailed the taxi to get back to where he was staying. He claimed he put €50 on the dashboard after the driver asked him if he had money.

Finnegan claimed the driver couldn't find Aikens Village and there was a "stand off" after he was told to get out of the taxi.

He also claimed the taxi driver produced a weapon and he was "terrified".

A garda witness said Finnegan was "heavily intoxicated" and when asked what he was doing he said he was in the area "looking for a girl".

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