Portlaoise District Court
A Newbridge man who punched a female taxi driver to the back of the head after refusing to get out of her taxi has been sentenced to five months in prison.
Portlaoise District Court heard that the injured party suffered nightmares and is still afraid when working, after being assaulted by Myles Moloney (34), Morristown Estate, Newbridge, Co. Kildare, at the Dublin Road, Monasterevin, on May 7, 2017.
The State’s evidence outlined that on May 7, 2017, the injured party, a female taxi driver, was sitting waiting outside a Chinese restaurant with a passenger in the front seat, when the accused got into the back of the car and told her to drive.
He was intoxicated and began shouting and roaring and the taxi driver, who was frightened, told him to get out of the car.
The accused then grabbed her by the back of the head by the hair and was punching her, but she managed to get out of the taxi and rang the gardaí.
The accused was in the company of three others when he entered the car without permission.
The accused had 15 previous convictions.
When the case first came before the court in June, Judge Flann Brennan said the accused was a coward.
“When I was growing up, any man who struck a woman was by definition a coward, it’s a cowardly thing to do,” said Judge Brennan.
The judge said that the only thing in the accused’s favour was that the judge was required to seek a victim impact statement in the case.
Telling the accused to have compensation, Judge Brennan put the matter back to September 6 for a probation report.
When the case returned to court last week, Sgt JJ Kirby said that the injured party did not wish to come to court.
Defence, Mr Philip Meagher said his client appreciated that the probation report indicated he had been less than cooperative, but he got some work and failed to inform the probation service.
Mr Meagher said the accused had no recollection of the incident and was very remorseful. On the date in question, he met old school friends and drank spirits. Mr Meagher said that the accused has now made a commitment to his fiance not to drink and intends to stay off alcohol.
The accused had also brought €500 to court for the victim.
Judge Catherine Staines said that taxi drivers in general are very vulnerable, as they don’t know who they are letting into their car.
Referring to the victim impact statement, Judge Staines noted that the taxi driver is very nervous when working and keeps her doors locked as she is afraid.
She is terrified and suffered with nightmares and is very conscious of drunk people. She is very wary of who she allows into her car.
“This was an appalling assault on an innocent female,” said Judge Staines. “He jumped into the taxi and demanded to be taken home and then assaulted her.”
The judge said that despite this, the court had given him a chance and put the case back for a probation report. As he had said he had no memory of the incident, the probation officer has advised him of a course to educate himself on the dangers of drink, but he was very reluctant to attend and failed to keep his appointments with probation.
Saying she did not believe he was taking the matter seriously, Judge Staines sentenced the accused to five months in prison.
Recognisance was fixed for an appeal.