A FOREIGN student living in Dublin had her nose broken by a thief who punched her in the face when she chased and confronted him for stealing her phone, a court heard.
The victim told of her fear and pain after she was left covered in blood in the violent city centre robbery.
The culprit, described as a tall white man with a Dublin accent, was not caught and a taxi driver has been found not guilty of being in possession of the phone after the incident.
The driver, Desmond Kanu (49), insisted he was a "victim of circumstance" when a Nigerian stranger tried to hand him the stolen phone on the street before gardai approached.
Judge Deirdre Gearty said she had a reasonable doubt and dismissed the case against Mr Kanu at Dublin District Court.
The accused, of The Orchard Way, Greenwood, denied hand- ling the stolen phone at Parnell Street last January 11. There was no suggestion he was involved in the theft.
A Nigerian co-accused of Mr Kanu was convicted in another court for having the phone, but the actual thief was not found.
The court heard the Chinese victim, who is in her 20s, had been outside a restaurant when a white man grabbed her phone.
She pleaded with him to return it, offering money, but he fled. She followed but he punched her straight in the face. The punch was "very powerful" and she fell to the ground with blood all over her face and clothes.
The victim was hospitalised and said she was "afraid and hurt" following the incident. She felt unlucky because she had not been in Ireland long. Her phone, worth €500, was retrieved, but she said: "I don't want the money, I just want justice."
The court heard investigating gardai rang the victim's number and it was answered by a man with an African accent. Officers heard someone ask: "Do you want to buy a phone? €200?"
Gardai alleged they saw Mr Kanu at a bus stop being handed the phone by the co-accused. When they approached, this man tried to flee and Mr Kanu threw the phone on the ground.
Mr Kanu said he had eaten dinner in a restaurant and was about to take the owner home in his taxi when the co-accused, who he did not know, asked if he could come along.
He refused, and the man asked him to "hold something for him".
The gardai ran over and the co-accused dropped the phone. Mr Kanu insisted he never handled it.