Dublin man attacked taxi driver after Hailo mix-up

Attack: The defendant punched the driver twice after a mix-up
Attack: The defendant punched the driver twice after a mix-up

A man attacked a taxi driver after he wrongly thought the driver was the taxi he had ordered via Hailo.

Nathan O'Rowe (20) and his friend jumped into the taxi when it arrived near them. When the driver said he was there to pick up another passenger they refused to leave.

They became aggressive and accused the driver of drink driving after the spotted a can of beer which had been left in the car by a previous passenger.

The driver told them it was nothing personal but that he was booked with another passenger. This woman arrived and he got out and spoke to her.

The victim opened the car door and asked the men to leave. O'Rowe then got out and punched the driver twice in the face.

The woman started screaming and rang gardaí. As the men were walking away they turned back and began throwing stones and bottles at the car.

They then ran back and tackled the driver to the ground and punched and kicked him to the head.

O'Rowe of Raheen Close, Tallaght, Dublin pleaded guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to assault causing harm to the driver at Clanbrassil Street, Dublin on New Year's Day 2015.

Judge Desmond Hogan adjourned sentencing to next October but indicated that he will impose a suspended sentence. He said O'Rowe lack of any previous convictions, his guilty plea and his contrition were mitigating factors.

He ordered the Probation Service to assess O'Rowe's suitability for community work and remanded him on continuing bail.

The court heard the driver blacked out during the second part of the attack. He kept trying to stand up but was unable.

He later told gardaí this was all a blur. He managed to get to the boot of his car where he grabbed a wheel brace and started waving it to defend himself.

He didn't know if the men were still there because of blood in his eyes. The court heard the victim was permanently disfigured after his nose was fractured in two places.

He suffered a loss of €2,000 in earnings after the assault but is back working now. Counsel for O'Rowe said his client was offering €500 as a concrete measure of his remorse.

He said the two men had used Hailo to order a taxi and thought the victim's taxi was theirs. They felt the driver was throwing them out of the taxi to pick up a different fare.

By Declan Brennan