‘Rude’ taxi driver called passenger ‘scumbag’ over tip
A taxi driver who called his passenger “scumbag” and “disgrace to the human race”, has been fined €200 by Judge Anthony Halpin at Dublin District Court.
Brian Markham (50), of Glen Ellan Grove, Swords, Co Dublin, was also ordered to pay €300 in prosecution costs following his hearing yesterday.
He had pleaded not guilty but was convicted of breaking taxi regulations by using abusive language to a passenger.
In evidence, passenger Olan Callinan told Judge Halpin he complained to the National Transport Authority (NTA) after hiring Markham’s taxi on December 28 last year.
The run was from Dublin Airport to his home in Ballsbridge.
Mr Callinan, a barrister, told the court he and his mother had arrived back from America.
He said the taxi driver “told me he would not help with the bags”. Mr Callinan said he had no difficulty with that and he put their luggage in the boot.
At one stage, Mr Callinan decided to pull down a rear window by about six inches but the driver put it back up using his controls. He accused Markham of abruptly saying: “The window is up, and it stays up.”
He was concerned he and his mother, who had just had an operation, would be left on the side of the road, he said. He told Markham there was no need to say it like that and said he found it quite rude and aggressive.
Mr Callinan said the driver responded, “If I’m rude, that’s the way I am.”
There was no further conversation until they reached their home and his mother got out.
Mr Callinan said he wanted to pay the exact fare and not give him “one cent more” of a tip because of his rudeness.
He said he asked the fare and was told €29 but he alleged Markham wanted €30. The driver told him, “We round up that is what we do”, he alleged.
He said the driver was getting “very het up”.
He opened the boot at which Markham “slammed” it shut.
Mr Callinan said the driver became increasingly volatile and started to call him and his father, who had come out of the house, “scumbags”. Markham admitted he told Mr Callinan’s father, “You and your son are a disgrace to the human race”, before leaving the scene.
Fred ponders! What if Mr Olan Callinan was not a barrister but a plumber living in Ringsend, Dublin 4 too, I am just wondering since we still have free speech in Ireland, would there have been a court case at all? I find this case intriguing to say the least and how many arguments between people happen especially in Dublin on a daily basis? Down the years I have witnessed a few taxi men who can be rude but the majority of them are pleasant, polite and very helpful. It appears to me just reading the above that Callinan’s word was taken as Gospel and so was his Dad’s. It is just an observation; it is a bit like saying – The Courts of the Land look after their own or maybe I am reading the transcript upside down. Markham was fined £300 plus the court costs – a bit steep. Watching Prime Time last night it was shocking and if I recall correctly, one paedophile was fined just a few hundred pounds, in a district court for abusing two children. We all have heard about the Equity of Balance but it seems some courts did not receive this memo. Fred