Fare-dodging taxi passenger slapped driver and kicked colleague

A passenger who slapped a taxi driver and fled without paying kicked his colleague between the legs after heading to their depot to collect her belongings, a court has heard.

By The Newsroom
Tuesday, 19th December 2017, 5:09 pm
Updated Tuesday, 19th December 2017, 5:11 pm

Mary Lavery also attacked a hospital nurse and pulling another woman’s hair extensions out during two other violent outbursts.

Imposing a six-month suspended jail sentence on the 27-year-old, a judge at Belfast Magistrates’ Court warned she is now “facing the cell doors”.

She was also ordered to pay more than £600 to compensate her victims and cover the costs of her crime spree.

Lavery, of Earlscourt Street in the city, was convicted of four courts of common assault, making off without paying a £10 fare, criminal damage to a taxi, possession of cannabis, disorderly behaviour and threats to damage property.

Prosecutors said a cab picked her and another woman up at a location in Belfast on September 25.

During the journey she became aggressive, slapping the driver on the head and opening a door while the car was still moving.

Both women got out and ran off, later making their way to the taxi depot to retrieve their property, the court heard.

According to a prosecution lawyer Lavery then pushed, scratched and kicked another member of staff between the legs before he managed to close a door on her.

In a separate incident in February last year she attacked another woman at Indiana Avenue in Belfast after they had fallen out.

District Judge Fiona Bagnall was told Lavery punched and kicked her to the ground, pulling some hair extensions out during the assault.

The victim’s mother managed to get her into their house before the defendant shouted that she would be back to put their windows in.

Details of an attack on a staff nurse at the Mater Hospital in north Belfast back in September 2014 were also disclosed.

Lavery had been receiving treatment when she became disruptive and was asked to go back to her cubicle.

She started shouting abuse and threats at members of staff before dragging her nails across the female nurse’s arm, the court heard.

Defence counsel Joel Lindsay said Lavery “hated herself” for her behaviour, arguing that she needed help for mental health issues.

The barrister also revealed that his client was herself exposed to a recent ordeal.

“She had two people come to her door in balaclavas to beat her, a gun was placed at her head,” Mr Lindsay said.

Passing sentence, Mrs Bagnall said: “This is a sequence of bad episodes which well and truly crosses the custody threshold.

“She should be concerned – she is facing the cell doors.”

However, the judge decided against immediate imprisonment after accepting Lavery requires professional help.

Suspending the total prison term of six months, she stressed: “If she’s back again she is in custody.”