A Former Dublin cabbie, who continued operating a taxi after he was banned from driving, is lucky he is not going to jail, a judge said yesterday.
Trevor Johnson (38) of Gortmore Avenue in Finglas pleaded guilty at Dublin District Court to charges under the Taxi Regulation Act for unlawfully operating a taxi while suspended, having no driving licence, no motor tax or insurance and not having a Public Service Vehicle licence
Judge Grainne O'Neill heard that Johnson was arrested at 10.25pm on March 4 at Bride St in Dublin 8. Garda Damien Duffy, who is attached to the Garda Traffic Corps, said that he stopped the '07-reg silver Skoda. There was a passenger who thought it was a legitimate taxi sitting in the back seat.
The traffic garda said the car appeared to be a taxi and had a number on the roof and a corresponding number on the door but a window sticker which a taxi should have was missing.
Gda Duffy said Johnson had been a taxi driver until last year and the car had previously been registered as a taxi. Johnson told him that he was in dire financial circumstances.
He had a previous conviction, last year, for driving without insurance which resulted in a two-year road ban.
Defence solicitor Noelle Kenny said her client was €60,000 in arrears with his mortgage. He had bought the property in 2007 when he worked as a plumber.
During the crash he lost his job and had to move home to his mother for whom he acts as a carer. She said he was in desperate financial need at the time of the incident.
Judge O'Neill accepted he had difficulties at the time but she added that he had broken a court order and was carrying a passenger while uninsured.
She fined him €600 and adjourned the case until May 25 for a probation report on his suitability to carry out 100 hours' community service in lieu of a three-month sentence.