Sunday 25 August 2019

Man accused of racially abusing and punching taxi driver to stand trial

Charged: Clive Mason, who has been accused of abusing and attacking a taxi driver, leaves court. Photo: Collins Courts
Charged: Clive Mason, who has been accused of abusing and attacking a taxi driver, leaves court. Photo: Collins Courts

Tom Tuite

A 42-year-old man is to stand trial accused of racially abusing and attacking a taxi driver after a video of the alleged incident went viral online.

Clive Mason, from Kerry but who has an address at The Close, Robswall, Malahide, Dublin, appeared before Judge Bryan Smyth at Dublin District Court yesterday.

He was charged with assault causing harm to Samuel Banjoko Johnson, who is originally from Nigeria, endangerment of life and making off from a taxi without paying a €16.20 fare at Malahide Road, Donnycarney.

It was alleged the driver was repeatedly called "n****r" and punched by a passenger he picked up on the night of Easter Sunday, April 21 last.

Evidence was given by Garda Andrew Fox of Clontarf station. He said Mr Mason was charged on June 27 after he was met by appointment at Clontarf garda station. "He made no reply to charge after caution," he said.

The DPP had directed "summary disposal", for the case to be dealt with at district court level. However, Judge Smyth held it should be sent forward to the circuit court which has tougher sentencing powers.

Judge Smyth was given an outline of the allegations for the purpose of deciding the trial venue.

Gda Fox alleged that on April 21, at 10.20pm, the defendant obtained the service of the taxi driver. He sat on the front passenger seat and during the course of the journey it was alleged Mr Mason asked the driver what was "his favourite position, as in car position".

The driver, Mr Johnson, did not understand and it was alleged Mr Mason then became "aggressive and angry".

Judge Smyth was told the defendant asked: "Did he deny his position as a n****r, then called him a n*****r on a number of occasions."

The court heard he took off his seat belt and leaned over causing the vehicle to veer sharply into a bus lane.

The taxi driver stopped the car having avoided a collision. The court heard he received a number of punches to the face and it was alleged the defendant shouted "drive me home you n****r c**t".

Gda Fox said the driver received soft tissue injuries.

Judge Smyth noted the report said he had been diagnosed with concussion. He went to his GP two days later and was referred to Beaumont Hospital, the court heard.

Defence solicitor Declan Fahy said a CT scan was not required by the hospital.

Judge Smyth said having heard an outline of the alleged facts and having considered the report and observations, he was refusing jurisdiction.

Mr Mason has not yet indicated how he will plead.

He was ordered to appear again at the district court on September 11 to be served with a book of evidence.

Irish Independent

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