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Former college rugby player jailed for beating up and robbing taxi driver

Buti Sashi
Buti Sashi

A former Blackrock college rugby player who beat up and robbed a taxi driver to avoid paying a fare has been jailed for nine months.

A former Blackrock college rugby player who beat up and robbed a taxi driver to avoid paying a fare has been jailed for nine months.

In the Dublin Circuit Criminal Court today, Judge Catherine Murphy said she was jailing Buti Sashi (20) with “great reluctance” after he failed to engage fully with probation and restorative justice services and failed a drugs test.

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

Sashi was caught because he left his passport behind in the taxi. He went to gardaí shortly after the assault and reported his passport as lost.

Garda Mark Costello previously told the court that Sashi flagged down the taxi on the Naas road and he got into the front passenger seat. Another man with Sashi 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 Sashi started hitting him. Sashi 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 Sashi realised he had left his passport, mobile phone and a necklace in the footwell of the taxi.

He went back to the car but the driver had locked the doors. Sashi later reported his passport as lost in a garda station.

After his arrest later for the robbery, Sashi told gardaí 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 was no longer happy to pick up passengers on the street, which had resulted in a loss of income, the court heard.

Fiona Pecker BL, defending, previously told the court 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 Sashi 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, Liberty Saints and Guinness rugby F.C.

Sashi was born in Nigeria but came to Ireland at the age of eight. His mother, who supported her son in court, was extremely shocked and appalled at his actions, the court previously heard.

Sentencing him to nine months' imprisonment, Judge Murphy said Sashi had been given “every opportunity” by the court to improve his situation.

She said he had failed to provide evidence that he completed a course at Rathmines College and that an employer reference he supplied from a valet car parking company was an “insult to the court”.

The reference was not signed, had no letterhead and “could have been prepared by a child of 15”, the judge said.

The court heard Sashi attended only four out of seven probation service conferences and failed to complete an anger awareness course as part of the restorative justice programme. He failed to provide any compensation to his victim and he also tested positive for cocaine and speed.

Sashi apologised to the court, telling Judge Murphy he was “really sorry”. “I know you've given me so many chances,” he said. He was an “idiot” to take drugs, he added.

Judge Murphy said she hoped Sashi would use his time in custody constructively and make a concerted effort to turn his life around upon release.

“You've got too much potential and too much ability to waste any more time in custody,” she said.