Suspended term for punch in head
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.