Sus­pended term for punch in head

Kalgoorlie Miner - - NEWS - Ja­son Men­nell

A Kal­go­or­lie-Boul­der man who punched a 70-year-old taxi driver in the head, caus­ing him to black out mo­men­tar­ily, has been given a seven-month sus­pended jail term.

Clay­ton Pei­hana Cham­bers White, 33, was sen­tenced for as­sault­ing the el­derly driver, at Kal­go­or­lie Mag­is­trate’s Court yes­ter­day, af­ter pre­vi­ously plead­ing guilty to the of­fence.

Po­lice pros­e­cu­tor Se­nior Con­sta- ble Thomas Ban­yard said just af­ter mid­night on July 29, White and two friends called a taxi to take them to the Pier Ho­tel in Esper­ance.

He said as they got into the car, they chal­lenged the driver about the call-out fee al­ready reg­is­tered on the me­ter but de­cided to go ahead with the jour­ney.

Sen. Const. Ban­yard said they told the driver to stop be­fore they ar­rived at the ho­tel be­cause they were con­cerned about the fare.

He said White got out, walked to the driver’s side win­dow and punched the driver through the win­dow with a clenched fist, knock­ing his glasses off his head.

Sen. Const. Ban­yard said the im­pact caused the vic­tim to black out mo­men­tar­ily and broke his glasses, leav­ing him with skin le­sions on his face and a part of his arm.

He said a pass­ing taxi driver saw the in­ci­dent and hooted, and White ran away from the scene.

The court heard the taxi driver did not feel safe work­ing af­ter the in­ci­dent and had given up his night-time shifts and, as a pen­sioner, it had af­fected him fi­nan­cially.

De­fence lawyer Paul Gazia said White was in­stantly re­morse­ful and re­turned to hand him­self in to po­lice, who were at the scene a short time later.

He said White did not nor­mally drink but had been drink­ing that night.

Mr Gazia said White was a de­cent and hard­work­ing man who had made a mis­take. Sen. Const. Ban­yard said it was a coward punch on a vul­ner­a­ble man and a mes­sage needed to be sent to the com­mu­nity that the “out­ra­geous” at­tack was un­ac­cept­able.

Mag­is­trate San­dra De Maio said the in­ci­dent was not in­sti­gated by the vic­tim and White could have de­cided not to get into the taxi at all if he was so con­cerned about the fare.

White’s term was sus­pended for nine months.

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