independent

Tuesday 12 December 2017

Two charged in taxi driver case

Man 'begged for his life' during alleged incident, court hears

Anne Campbell

Two Cullyhanna men have appeared in court in Newry charged in connection with the alleged kidnap and robbery of a Dundalk taxi driver at knifepoint.

Antion McCooey (24) and Robert Tasker (25) both of separate addresses in St Patrick's Park, Cullyhanna, are charged with kidnapping and robbery on November 29, 2016.

Tasker is further accused of 11 charges relating to the possession and supply of cocaine, cannabis, anabolic steroids and testosterone on dates from July to November 2016.

The court heard that the two defendants are alleged to have ordered a taxi from Chopsticks Chinese Takeaway, Park Street in Dundalk on the night of the alleged offence.

The co-accused are alleged to have booked a journey to their home in Cullyhanna and paid €30 upfront for the cost of the fare.

The prosecution alleges that during the journey McCooey produced a screwdriver and Tasker pulled out a Stanley knife before making threats towards the male driver.

The taxi driver drove on to the Cullyhanna addresses, it was alleged.

The court was told that the co-accused then began to make stabbing motions towards the driver.

The alleged victim, the court heard, is said to have then began to beg for his life before another car turned up to the scene allowing him to make a getaway.

At this point, the prosecution outlined that the taxi driver fled from the area and went on to report the full incident to the Gardai in Dundalk.

On a follow up investigation, police went to the identified Chinese restaurant and viewed CCTV footage from the night it is alleged the incident took place.

In court last week, the prosecution claimed that police officers were able to identify the co-accused from the security camera footage.

A search was obtained and executed t the defendants' homes. They were then both arrested and later bailed by police before being charged on July 18.

A phone seized from Tasker during the Gardai search is being used, the police outlined, to connect him to multiple alleged drug offences.

Newry District Judge Eamonn King, referring to the outline of the details of the case as a 'disturbing incident' and remanded the co-accused on continuing bail with Tasker required to sign a £1,000 surety on the drugs charges.

Both defendants have been electronically tagged and have a number of conditions attached to their bail, including that they have no alcohol, that they do not use a taxi, have no contact with the alleged injured party, adhere to a curfew of 11pm to 7am and handover their passports.

The case was adjourned to August 30.

The Argus

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