Man assaults taxi driver

A MAN faced the chance of going to jail in Gladstone Magistrates Court on Thursday after assaulting a taxi driver while he was driving.

Faafetai Aloese-Coates pleaded guilty to one charge of common assault.

Police Prosecutor Constable Troy Daubaras told the court the very muscular Aloese-Coates assaulted a 62 year old taxi driver at 3.30am on May 29.

The defendant was a passenger in the taxi which picked him and other passengers up from the Bojangles nightclub in Goondoon Street. Aloese-Coates was sitting in the middle of the back seat when he started arguing with his girlfriend.

He started kicking and punching in the back seat prior to grabbing the taxi driver on the left arm and punching him to the left side of the head. The driver stopped the car and activated the alarm.

Two female passengers in the back seat pulled the defendant out of the car before the taxi drove off.

The defendant told police he could not remember the incident due to alcohol, but CCTV footage showed the unprovoked assault.

Const Daubaras said the assault was very dangerous considering the driver was driving at the time.

“The defendant is a 23 year old labourer with a long alcohol related history, a serious deterrent needs to be set for people who instigate unprovoked assaults,” Const Daubaras said.

Duty Lawyer Brad Krebs said his client offered no excuses but has a serious alcohol problem.

“He is seeing a psychologist and undergoing an alcohol program to try to stem his bizarre behaviour,” he said.

Magistrate Damian Carroll told Aloese-Coates the potential for injury to the victim and the other passengers in the car was high.

“You were seriously intoxicated and for no apparent reason you hit the taxi driver. You have a history of street offences with five public nuisance convictions and your most recent offence an obstruct police,” Mr Carroll said.

“I need to set a deterrent to you and others, and the taxi driver should be able to do his job without fear of harm.”

Aloese-Coates was sentenced to three months jail wholly suspended for two years. For breaching his community service order, the order was revoked and he was fined $400 or five days in jail.

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