Kildare man who punched female taxi driver avoids jail

Case heard in Portlaoise

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Kildare man who punched female taxi driver avoids jail

Portlaoise courthouse

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 granted an appeal against a five-month prison sentence on condition he set up a weekly standing order to pay the victim compensation.

Myles Moloney, Morristown Estate, Newbridge, Co. Kildare, committed the offence at the Dublin Road, Monasterevin, on May 7, 2017, and was sentenced to five months in prison at Portlaoise District Court in September, 2018.

He subsequently appealed this sentence at Portlaoise Circuit Court.

When his appeal first came before the court last December, Garda Sgt Dowling gave evidence that at 2.30am on May 7, 2017, the injured party was sitting in her car on the Dublin Road, Monasterevin, when the appellant jumped into her car with another man and demanded a life to Newbridge.

The woman said no, so he grabbed her by the hair and punched her in the head. One of his friends pulled him out of the vehicle.

The appellant had 14 previous convictions.

Defence, solicitor Mr Philip Meagher said his client had handed in a letter of apology, which he said was a true expression of remorse and regret.

He said the accused paid €500 as a token of remorse in the district court and he had a further €2,000 to offer. 

Mr Meagher told the court that the accused had just got married and his wife’s parents paid for the wedding as every penny he had went towards the compensation.

“He has no explanation for his behaviour on the night,” said Mr Meagher.

Defence explained that the appellant had been out watching a match and he fell into company on the night.

“No one poured the drink down his throat, he was out of his mind on drink,” said Mr Meagher.

In ruling last December, Judge Keenan Johnson said this was outrageous behaviour and he completely concurred with the decision of the district court judge who had deemed the assault to be at the upper end of the scale.

Judge Johnson said the €2,000 compensation was not nearly enough and that sending the appellant to jail would not do much good in getting the injured party more compensation.

Adjourning the matter to March 20, Judge Johnson told the appellant to pay a total €7,500, with €1,000 to be in court on that date. He warned the appellant that if the money was not there on March 20 the full five-month sentence would be imposed.

“He’s very fortunate to be walking out of here,” said Judge Johnson.

When the case returned to Portlaoise Circuit Court recently, Mr Meagher said the appellant had a further €1,000 compensation, leaving a balance of €4,500.

Mr Meagher said the accused was looking for two years to pay the balance and would be able to put aside €50 a week.

Judge Johnson told the accused to set up a standing order of €50 a week for the injured party. If that was done, the judge said he would suspend the five-month sentence for three years