Tuesday 20 March 2018

Judge warns that he will protect taxi drivers

A judge has warned anyone who appears before him guilty of abusing taxi drivers are not going to 'walk from the court' without a conviction.

Judge Conal Gibbons made the remarks at Balbriggan District Court when a case came before him of a young man who verbally abused a taxi driver and then broke the wing mirror off the car.

Stanislavs Krescenko (22) was on a night out with friends in Balbriggan two nights before Christmas last year when he got a taxi at around 3.10am.

A verbal dispute broke out and the defendant damaged the car's wing mirror. There was no injury sustained by the taxi driver.

The defendant, of Cardy Rock Road in Balbriggan pleaded guilty to causing criminal damage to the taxi's wing mirror on Drogheda Street in the town on December 23rd, 2016. He has no previous convictions.

'I haven't met many people who bust up a taxi driver's wing mirrors,' said Judge Gibbons.

'Taxi drivers have a difficult enough job driving at times when no-one else is around and things can happen to them,' said Judge Gibbons.

'Taxi drivers perform a public service and people out socialising need taxis so they aren't tempted to drink and drive home.

'This taxi driver was out doing his job and was accosted by this young lad full of drink.'

Defence solicitor Fiona D'Arcy told the court 'It was completely out of character' the way the defendant had behaved.

'He drank heavily that night and has never been in trouble before and no trouble since,' she said, asking the judge to leave the defendant without a conviction as 'his future as a chef could be jeopardised if he has a conviction.'

However, Judge Gibbons said he has to register the seriousness of the offence.

'I wouldn't be happy just to give him a slap on the wrist,' said Judge Gibbons. 'Taxi drivers are known for their gentle disposition and to have one of them meet with this young man at 3am. If you cross certain boundaries you have to pay for it.

'I'm not going to allow people walk from court for abusing taxi drivers,' he warned.

He said taxi drivers are 'put in the way of possible dangers.'

'If people are going to be difficult and misbehave it is a matter for the court to take seriously,' said the judge and convicted and fined the defendant €100. He fixed recognisances in the event of an appeal.

Fingal Independent