Man allegedly punched and headbutted taxi driver stopped at lights

Dublin District Court heard McAleese punched and headbutted the taxi driver
Dublin District Court heard McAleese punched and headbutted the taxi driver

A man opened the door of a taxi as it was stopped at traffic lights and punched and headbutted the driver, it has been alleged.

Martin McAleese (44) is accused of attacking and injuring the cabbie following a dispute between them on a busy Friday night in Dublin city centre.

Prosecutors maintain the incident happened after the accused and his wife declined to get into the taxi because the driver was a "black male".

Dublin District Court heard both the accused and the alleged victim claimed the other had made "hand gestures" through the windows as both taxis moved off at Fleet Street in Temple Bar.

The defendant then allegedly attacked the cabbie while he was stopped in traffic. Mr McAleese is charged with causing harm to the man at Wellington Quay on May 8, 2015.

Judge Michael Walsh said he would refuse jurisdiction but adjourned the case until Mr McAleese is present.

The defendant, of Lisnagarran Lane Portglenone, Co Antrim, had been excused from attending.

It was alleged that Mr McAleese opened the passenger door, held the driver down and punched him. The alleged victim found it hard to defend himself because he was wearing a seatbelt, a garda said.

The accused allegedly headbutted the driver, then ran around to the other side and further assaulted him.

The cabbie called for help and tried to hold on to him until the gardai arrived but was punched away, it was alleged.

The defendant ran into Temple Bar but the alleged victim stopped him. Judge Walsh said the allegations were "outside the realm" of a typical assault.

He noted that the alleged victim suffered "rather nasty injuries" but would probably make a full recovery.

Andrew Phelan