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Off duty taximan hit cabbie in head in row over price

AN off-duty taxi man who was himself getting a cab through the city centre after a night out punched the driver in the head when they got into a dispute over the fare.

Father-of-three Gavin Banahan (32) attacked the driver over the price of the fare after he had been out watching the All-Ireland hurling final between Kilkenny and Tipperary.

Dublin District Court heard the defendant had drunk too much on the night because he was under pressure due to a lack of work, while his youngest child had a heart condition.

Judge Ann Watkin adjourned the case against him for the production of €500 in compensation.

Banahan, of Shanliss Road, Santry, admitted assaulting the driver after being taken from the North Circular Road to O'Connell Street on September 5, 2010.

He also pleaded guilty to causing a breach of the peace in the same incident.



BRUISING

The court heard the defendant was holding the taxi driver by the arms when gardai arrived at the scene.

"When we arrived, there was a struggle and the driver said Mr Banahan had refused to pay the fare," Garda Ann Cahill said.

"While leaving the car, he punched the driver on the left side of the head."

While the only injuries the victim suffered were bruising, he had been unable to work for the rest of the night because he was shaken.

Garda Cahill said the accused's aggressive behaviour continued while she was at the scene. The court heard the defendant was engaged to be married and had worked as a taxi driver himself for the past 10 years. He had previous public order convictions but none for assault.

He was taking steps to address his alcohol problem and accepted that drink did not agree with him, his lawyer said.

"Lots of people under pressure get drunk," Judge Watkin said. "Only certain people choose to physically assault someone.

"The victim was doing his job and he gets punched into the face in the course of his job."

The defendant's lawyer said: "He accepts he reacted in an incorrect way to a dispute over a fare."

The court heard the accused was prepared to pay €500 compensation to the victim -- €200 for the money he lost by not being able to work for the rest of the night and €300 for his "ordeal".

The judge adjourned the case to a date later this month.

aphelan@herald.ie