Punter loses it over slip
Community order for taxi attack
A DISPUTE over a lost betting slip resulted in a taxi driver being ambushed as he sat in his car outside a Geelong shopping centre, a court has heard.
Justin Lowe, 42, was among a group of four who pounced on the cabbie in a late-night incident at Corio Village last year.
Geelong Magistrates Court heard the victim was left terrified as the angry mob delivered a series of punches and kicks to the taxi while the driver was locked inside.
Lowe, of Norlane, was sentenced on Friday to a community correction order after pleading guilty to criminal damage.
Prosecutor Senior Constable Craig Williams said the incident took place about 10.15pm on July 9 after Lowe had received a series of lifts from the cabbie within Geelong’s northern suburbs.
Among the stops was The Sphinx Hotel, where the accused placed a bet before returning to the taxi and being driven to Norlane.
Later in the evening, Lowe and a friend again caught a lift with the driver towards The Sphinx, but were booted out on Thompson Road after the cabbie was accused of stealing the missing TAB slip.
More than an hour later, the cabbie was parked in a taxi zone outside Corio Village Shopping Centre when a car suddenly blocked him in.
The court heard four males
— including Lowe — emerged from the vehicle and started throwing punches and kicks at the taxi.
One of the offenders also jumped on the cab’s bonnet and punched the windscreen, causing about $1000 damage.
Senior Constable Williams said the victim was “extremely fearful” during the fracas as he sat inside the taxi with all doors locked.
Defence lawyer Shane Balkin, for Lowe, said his client’s
actions were unreasonable”.
“This sort of behaviour is just not on,” Mr Balkin said.
“He’s placing himself in a
“completely situation where he’s looking at being locked up.”
He said Lowe had been unable to regulate his anger after believing he had lost the betting ticket.
“He lost his cool,” Mr Balkin said. “He was not in the right state of mind.”
Magistrate Franz Holzer said the ordeal would have been frightening for the victim.
Mr Holzer took into account Lowe’s mental health issues in sentencing him to an 18-month correction order.
The order includes mental health treatment.