Taxi passenger admits drunken attack on driver
A DRUNKEN teenager who left a taxi driver bleeding from his eye has been given a five-month suspended sentence.
Karl Rafferty (19) struck the cabbie after he and his friend were asked to leave the taxi, ran from the scene and later told gardai that the victim "deserved what he got".
Rafferty had the sentence suspended for a year and was ordered to pay Shahzhad Hussain €1,000 in compensation.
Judge Gerard Haughton said he could not accept the contention that the assault was "racially motivated".
But he said there was no excuse for the "gratuitous violence" Rafferty had used.
Father-of-one Rafferty, with an address at Mulroy Road, Cabra, admitted assault causing harm to the victim at Dorset Street, Dublin 1 on November 21, 2010.
Garda Clare Rafferty told Dublin District Court she was called to the scene at 3am and Mr Hussain's eye was bleeding.
He said he had been assaulted by two men he had taken in his taxi and who had fled.
He also alleged he had been racially abused by them. Mr Hussain accompanied Garda Rafferty in the patrol car and pointed out the two men on Mountjoy Street.
The accused was arrested and taken to the Bridewell Garda Station, where he admitted to the assault while interviewed.
A medical report and pictures of the victim's injuries were handed into court.
Rafferty accepted he was "loud and boisterous" when he got into the taxi, his solicitor Declan Fahey said.
After a short time, the victim stopped the taxi and told the pair he was not happy to take them, and they got out.
Rafferty punched Mr Hussain in the face and ran off.
Rafferty was so intoxicated that a doctor who was called to the garda station declared him unfit for interview for six hours.
The court heard when he was interviewed, the accused alleged the victim had "squared up to him" and told gardai: "I'll tell you up straight, he deserved what he got."
Mr Fahey said while Rafferty pleaded guilty to the assault, he had never accepted there was any racial motivation.
Judge Haughton told the State solicitor he had to disregard this in the absence of the victim giving evidence.
"That doesn't alter the fact this was an unprovoked attack on the injured party who was simply going about his lawful business as a taxi driver," the judge said.
"There is no place for that type of gratuitous violence."
The court heard the defendant was currently out of work after a Fas course in computers. He had no addiction problems and had a one-year-old child.
He said €500 of the compensation was to be paid within seven days and the rest by January 1 next year.