Taxi driver feared for his safety

A ROCKHAMPTON taxi driver left his job after being assaulted by a drunken passenger.

The cabbie feared for his safety when Owen Karpany lashed out and verbally threatened him and pushed his fingers into the back of the driver’s neck.

Karpany, 39, yesterday pleaded guilty in the Rockhampton Magistrates Court to assaulting a taxi driver in the early hours of September 23, 2010.

Police Prosecutor Barbara Barton said Karpany became agitated after a fight in the cab with his partner.

Ms Barton said Karpany threatened the taxi driver verbally before assaulting him in the back of the neck.

She said the victim feared for his safety and ended up driving to a service station to seek refuge from his attacker.

Karpany was intoxicated when he and his partner were picked up on Musgrave Street just before 1am.

The taxi driver has since left his job.

Magistrate Tom Bradshaw said he saw the assault as a serious matter. “The taxi driver felt threatened. He (Karpany) was lucky it was such a minor charge,” Magistrate Bradshaw said.

Defence solicitor Shayne Studdert said while it was stressful for the taxi driver, his client didn’t physically injure him.

Magistrate Bradshaw fined Karpany $400.

The sentencing comes after an attack on a taxi driver in Rockhampton earlier this year when more than 20 taxi drivers rushed to support a colleague who triggered his assault alarm in Wandal earlier this year. Police were called to Jackson Street, Wandal, in January after the cab driver was assaulted by a group of males.

Police said the driver was punched on the arm after the passengers refused to pay the full fare.

At the time of the attack, Rocky Cabs said they were unable to comment because the incident was under investigation.

The taxi driver felt threatened. He (Karpany) was lucky it was such a minor charge



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