Teacher caught running an illegal taxi service in Dublin

Driver was nabbed after taking a fare to Dublin Airport
Driver was nabbed after taking a fare to Dublin Airport

AN ITALIAN teacher caught running an illegal taxi service in Dublin which he advertised on social media has been spared a criminal record and up to €10,000 in fines.

Christian Cavalaglio, 46, currently living at Emmett Court, Inchicore, Dublin pleaded guilty at Dublin District Court to two counts of breaching the Taxi Regulation Act on Dec. 2 last year.

He was prosecuted following a joint operation involving Gardai and the National Transport Authority (NTA), Judge John Brennan was told.

NTA compliance officer Anthony Carey told the court that the investigation came after he observed an advert on a website. A natural Italian speaking NTA employee posing as a passenger booked him for fare from Clonee to Dublin Airport. 

Mr Carey said they were picked up by Cavalaglio and taken to Terminal 1. The NTA official asked how much he owed and was told €30. He handed over the money and once it was accepted by the driver a Garda who was there by pre-arrangement, came to the car and cautioned  Cavalaglio.

The man did not have a taxi licence nor was the car registered as a taxi. Mr Carey agreed that Cavalaglio was co-operative and had no prior criminal convictions.

A defence barrister told the court that his client, came to Ireland two years ago, “is very well educated” and is qualified  to teach Italian.

He is working for an agency as a receptionist on a zero hour contract basis and lives with his partner in rented accommodation.

He has been making efforts to find work around Ireland  and in colleges and schools in England. The barrister handed into court a bundle of documents outlining his efforts to get work as a teacher and his previous jobs in Canada and the USA.

In pleas for leniency, the lawyer said Cavalaglio has shut down the relevant social media pages he had used and is continuing to look for legitimate work. It has been explained to him that taxis need to be insured in the event of an accident and a driver must be subject to criminal background checks.

Judge Brennan said some parts of the documentation handed in to court read like a “grand European tour”. He said there were aggravating factors but noted the Italian defendant had no prior convictions, his background and desire to obtain employment, and his co-operation with the NTA. He also remarked that with the wages he currently earns he is “subsisting” but making earnest efforts to get other employment.

He said convicting him would be disproportionate in those circumstances and he applied the Probation Act. However, he warned Cavalaglio that if it happened again “the situation would be far more serious”.