Student avoids jail for choking taxi driver if he pays compensation
A student who caused a taxi driver to crash his car by choking him from the back seat has avoided jail after agreeing to pay €8,000 in compensation.
Owen Guckian (22) of Howth Road, Killester pleaded guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to endangerment at Ballymun Road on May 24, 2011.
Judge Martin Nolan suspended a three year prison term on the condition that the student pays the €8,000 in costs incurred by the taxi driver as a result of the crash.
Garda Colum McElligott told John Byrne BL, prosecuting, that taxi driver Paul Lynch had picked up Guckian and another man at around four in the morning and the passengers asked to go to Donabate, North County Dublin.
Mr Lynch asked for some payment up front but Guckian told him in a menacing tone to keep driving. Mr Lynch drove on but then said he wanted the men to get out.
Guckian grabbed the driver around the neck with his right arm and pulled him back so far that the driver was looking at the roof of the car.
The driver said he was terrified and he couldn’t see where he was going causing the car to crash. The passengers got out and the driver, who wasn’t physically injured, went to Ballymun Garda Station.
The court heard €8,000 in damages to the car were not covered by insurance.
Guckian was arrested the following month. He said he could offer no reason for what he did and said he had the money to pay the fare. He has seven previous convictions, all under the Road Traffic Act.
James Dwyer BL, defending, said his client had drunk a litre of gin that night and that he admits that he drank too much and too often.
He said Guckian is a second year student in Dublin Institute of Technology and described him as a “talented and bright” man.
In a letter to the court Guckian wrote: “I sincerely regret my actions. I wish it never happened.”
Mr Dwyer said Guckian has tried to use the incident as a positive way of examining his own behaviour and life and is fully confident that it will never happen again.
Counsel said his client had brought €1,310 to court as a practical token of his remorse and would agree to pay the balance onwards within two years.