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Fine for builder who hit taxi driver and did not pay for ride

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A CONSTRUCTION worker was fined £600 and bound over to keep the peace for 12 months after admitting hitting a taxi driver and then leaving without paying for the ride.

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Colin Paul Harris (39), of Le Boulevard, St Aubin, who was charged with assault, was also ordered to pay £300 to the driver in compensation.

The shaken-up driver said that it was the first time in 40 years of being behind the wheel in a taxi that anything like this had ever happened to him.

The Magistrate’s Court heard that the defendant got into the taxi at about 9.30 pm on 1 December with a woman, who sat in the front seat and was dropped off at St John’s Road.

When she got out, Harris got into the front and Centenier Mike Haden said that as soon as he did, the defendant started touching the car radio and the driver’s iPhone. The court heard that Harris was waving his hands around and was disturbing the driving. And close to Bel Royal he punched the driver to the left side of his face.

Centenier Haden said: ‘The driver was convinced it was a deliberate act and he asked the defendant why he had done it.’

When the taxi arrived at its destination, the driver pulled into a bus stop and the defendant said that he did not have any money. The Centenier said that the driver told Harris to go to a nearby cashpoint.

The driver waited five minutes but the defendant never came back to pay the £20 fare. However, Harris was caught as he left his rucksack and helmet in the taxi.

The court heard that the driver’s injuries of bruising and swelling to his left cheek had been captured on film on a police body-worn camera.

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Advocate Luke Sette, defending, said the defendant had written a letter of apology to the driver that he handed to police along with £40 in compensation.

The lawyer said his client had been drinking and had no recollection of the journey. He said that Harris was not a violent man and submitted that the offence was committed recklessly as the defendant was waving his arms around as he was sitting in the front seat of the taxi.

‘In my submission the assault could not have been committed with any degree of force,’ he said.

Assistant Magistrate Peter Harris said that taxi drivers had a job to do in helping to get people home safely and that they deserved protection.

He added that assaulting the taxi driver was unacceptable and that the way the defendant behaved had caused a danger as it had distracted the driver.

Lucy Stephenson

By Lucy Stephenson
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