Ex-Blackrock college rugby player attacked and robbed taxi driver

Sashi Buti
Sashi Buti

A former Blackrock college rugby player who beat up and robbed a taxi driver to avoid paying a fare will be sentenced next June.

Sashi Buti (19) was caught because he left his passport behind in the taxi. He went to gardai shortly after the assault and reported his passport as lost.

Buti of Tyrconnell Grove, Inchicore, Dublin pleaded guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to robbery of Joseph Saji at St Michael's Estate, Inchicore on the night of August 23, 2014.

Judge Catherine Murphy adjourned the case until June 13 and ordered a report from the Probation Services.

Garda Mark Costello told Fionnuala O'Sullivan BL, prosecuting, that Buti flagged down the taxi on the Naas road and he got into the front passenger seat. Another man with Buti got into the back seat.

They told the driver to take them to St Michael's estate, which Garda Costello described as a derelict site with no CCTV cameras.

Once there the other man put his arm around the driver's neck and Buti started hitting him. Buti then  sat up on the driver while the men robbed his iPhone, SatNav device and €220 in cash.

Shortly after getting out of the car Buti realised he had left his passport, mobile phone and a necklace in the footwell of the taxi.

Sashi Buti outside court today

He went back to the car but the driver had locked the doors.

Buti later reported his passport as lost in a garda station.

After his arrest later for the robbery Buti told gardai that he didn't know how his property had ended up in the taxi.

The driver suffered tenderness and swelling as a result of the attack. None of the stolen items were recovered and he is no longer happy to pick up passengers on the street and this has resulted in a loss of income.

Fiona Pecker BL, defending, said that her client was drunk on the night. She said he claimed not to know the other man but that this man had suggested that they both “do a runner” on a taxi as Buti had no money to get home after a night out.

She said he became involved with Leinster rugby at the age of 14 and played with the under 15 team. He went on to play for Blackrock and later for Liberty Saints. He currently plays for Guinness rugby F.C..

She said he was born in Nigeria but came here to Ireland at the age of eight. His mother, who was in court, is extremely shocked and appalled at his actions, the court heard.

Counsel said he has no other previous convictions and can only apologise for his behaviour.

Judge Murphy said it was a “clever ploy” by Buti to report his passport lost. She said: “He concocted a cock and bull story to gardai.”

Before adjourning the case Judge Murphy asked barristers for both the State and for Buti to speak to her in her chambers.

After returning to court she invited Buti to provide the court with statements from his former rugby mentors or from Blackrock college and told him they might be of assistance to the court in determining the most appropriate sentence.