A man who assaulted a female taxi driver after refusing to pay his fare has been given a suspended jail sentence and ordered to pay her €3,000 within nine months.
Michael Kelly (34) pleaded guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to assaulting the woman causing her harm. He and his partner shared a taxi home with some friends on the evening of December 19th, 2022, before they were dropped off last at their home address at Earlsfort Road, Lucan, Co Dublin.
Oisín Clarke BL, prosecuting, told the court the couple got out of the taxi without paying their fare and walked into their home, leaving the taxi driver to follow them to their front door, requesting payment.
She knocked at the open front door for a few minutes, before Kelly’s partner came to the door and told her she had already given her €20, which she had not, and she tried to close the door on her. The taxi driver put her foot in the door to prevent it closing, before Kelly emerged from the house and pulled her by her jumper. The taxi driver retreated to the street before Kelly followed her and punched her a number of times.
She struggled against him and managed to pull off his Christmas jumper. Kelly left the scene and the taxi driver called gardaí, who arrived a short time later.
They knocked on Kelly’s door but there was no answer. He later called gardaí and arranged to be interviewed on Christmas Eve.
The taxi driver suffered bruising and tenderness to her face and attended hospital the following day with nausea and dizziness. The fare she was at a loss of amounted to €59.60, the court heard.
Kelly initially told gardaí he was acting in self-defence, but CCTV footage of the incident showed his account was unfounded. He has seven convictions for minor road traffic offences.
Aoife O’Leary BL, defending, said the defendant was co-operative with gardaí and entered an early guilty plea. She said he was remorseful for his actions that night, which occurred after alcohol had been taken. The court heard he has four children who are dependent on him and he has a good work history.
Handing down sentence, Judge Martin Nolan said he would not imprison Kelly at this point. He handed down a two-year sentence, which he suspended on a number of conditions, including that Kelly come up with €3,000 to give to the taxi driver within nine months.
The judge said if the taxi driver did not wish to receive the cash, then it should be donated to charity.
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