"You ripped me off": Man punches taxi driver

A DRUNK father of two who felt he was ripped off has been sentenced for repeatedly punching a taxi driver.

Palmyra man Michael Arthur Gilchrist, 38, pleaded guilty to common assault in the Mackay Magistrates Court this afternoon.

Magistrate Nerida Wilson said that in the early hours of May 1, Gilchrist caught a taxi from Mackay and arrived at Walkerston at 1.15am.

Ms Wilson told the court that when the fare came to $86, Gilchrist accused the taxi driver of "ripping (him) off" and swore at him.

Gilchrist struck the man's body several times with a closed fist, she said.

Defence solicitor Sam Stickland said the only injuries were bruises to the man's upper body.

Ms Stickland said Gilchrist was a self-employed concreter and sole carer of his children, aged 14 and 11.

Ms Wilson said Gilchrist had had too much to drink on the night and was embarrassed by his actions.

Yet she said the matter was serious as taxi drivers were vulnerable when travelling alone and at night.

She sentenced the man to 12 months' probation and ordered he pay $500 in compensation to the taxi driver.

She ordered he undergo any alcohol and anger management courses available during probation. No conviction was recorded.

Gilchrist had previously been sentenced for damaging the taxi driver's car in the same incident.


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