Belfast Telegraph

Woman racially abused taxi driver over choice of route

By Alan Erwin

A woman who shoved and racially abused a taxi driver in a row over his choice of route must complete 150 hours community service, a judge ordered today.

Donna Bedford's sentence was increased by 50% due to the nature of her drunken tirade.

The 43-year-old, of Slemish Way, Lisburn, Co Antrim, was convicted of assault, disorderly behaviour, assault on police and resisting arrest.

Belfast Magistrates' Court heard the offences occurred after she got a taxi with her partner during a night out in the city last November.

She was said to have become agitated and accused the driver of deliberately taking a longer route than necessary.

A prosecution lawyer said the victim was referred to as a "wee black b******" due to his ethnic origin.

Police who arrived the scene on the Lisburn Road were also subjected to abuse before the driver was further berated, the court heard.

A defence lawyer said Bedford had behaved totally out of character after getting drunk on her first night out in more than two years.

"She is absolutely disgusted at having made the comments," he said.

District Judge John Meehan commented: "This must have been a very frightening, traumatic experience for the taxi driver.

"To be assaulted and berated in racist terms is very distressing indeed."

Bedford was sentenced to a total of 150 hours community service for all of the offences.

Judge Meehan confirmed: "There is a 50% increase in the community service because of the racist aspect."

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