A 20-YEAR-OLD who repeatedly punched a taxi driver because he did not want to pay the fare and on another occasion crashed his car while nearly three times over the drink-drive limit has narrowly avoided a jail sentence.
Instead Connor James Campbell, of Rue des Landes, St Peter, was sentenced to 180 hours’ community service and a 12-month probation order. He was warned he could face 12 months in prison if he breaches the orders. He was also banned from driving for three years.
During sentencing, the Magistrate, Bridget Shaw, described the defendant’s behaviour as appalling and added: ‘Taxi drivers should be safe to pick up whoever they give a lift to. It is a public service. It is a shocking situation.’
The defendant committed the assault in the early hours of 13 May in the road where he lives after having been driven home from town in the early hours.
Centenier John Camara said that Campbell refused to pay the fare and when the driver said he was going to call the police, the defendant punched him. In doing so, he knocked the driver to the ground, causing damage to a tooth.
Later, on the night of 23 September, Campbell lost control of his blue Ford Fiesta on Victoria Avenue and went through the railings on the central reservation at the bend at the Bel Royal end of the road.
The Centenier said that the car ended up the wrong way round on the opposite side of the carriageway and two members of the public pulled him out of the vehicle. The court also heard that members of staff from The Kiosk used a fire extinguisher on the car until emergency services arrived.
When breathalysed at police headquarters, Campbell gave a reading of 100 mcg of alcohol in 100 ml of breath. The legal limit is 35 mcg. Campbell admitted charges of grave and criminal assault, drink-driving, dangerous driving, fraud and driving with a defective tyre.
Mrs Shaw said: ‘I am bearing in mind that you have pleaded guilty and that you are very young but a young person driving when grossly drunk can still kill or maim in the same way as an older person can.’
She said that if the defendant had not been so young, he would have been immediately sent to custody. ‘I have seen the photographs of the crash and it is shocking. You were already on bail and it is very fortunate for you that no one was hurt,’ she said.
Campbell was ordered to pay £1,255 in compensation to the driver for the injuries and losses sustained.
And there was a £100 fine for not paying the fare, as well as an order for him to repay the £18.93 charge. He was also fined £100 for having a defective tyre.
A petition calling for Erewash cabbies to be allowed to have fully-tinted windows in their taxis has been rejected over fears that vehicles could be used to enable the abuse of vulnerable children and adults.