Taxi driver told to ‘go back to Pakistan’ recorded incident on mobile phone and then showed it to police

Ballymena Court

A taxi driver told to ‘”go back to Pakistan” recorded the incident on a mobile phone and showed it to police, Ballymena Magistrates Court was told.

It led to Eamonn Gerard McAteer (51) of Waveney Court in Ballymena, appearing in court where he admitted charges of common assault and disorderly behaviour arising out of an incident on March 5 this year.

A prosecutor said it was “aggravated by hostility”.

She said a dispute had arisen in the cab when it reached McAteer’s address and the defendant was verbally aggressive and got out and opened the driver’s door, putting the driver in fear of being assaulted.

The victim recorded the incident on a mobile phone which he showed to police.

A defence lawyer said the defendant accepted his actions had been “extremely inappropriate” and he was “very ashamed of himself” for what he had said and done.

The court heard the defendant suffers from mobility problems due to an accident and two or three days before the taxi incident his medication had been “elevated” and he had then been drinking on the date in question.

The lawyer said McAteer had no memory of the incident as he was drunk but that the it had been a “misunderstanding that escalated”.

District Judge Peter King said the taxi driver had been put in fear of being punched but was not actually punched.

The judge said if there had been no “racist language” the fine would have been £200 but because of the “racist element” it was a £400 fine.

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