A 50-year-old Limerick taxi driver was yesterday found not guilty of threatening to kill a National Transport Authority (NTA) inspector after his vehicle failed a meter verification test.
Christopher Carroll, of 30 The Crescent, Kilteragh, Dooradoyle, pleaded not guilty at Limerick Circuit Court to threatening to kill or cause serious harm to Patrick Doyle on April 8, 2013.
In a statement to gardaí and in a letter of apology, he admitted losing his temper but said he did not intend any harm to Mr Doyle. In his statement to gardaí, he said he humbly apologised for what he said and could not recall making the alleged threats.
Mr Doyle said in evidence he worked with SGS Ireland Ltd, East Link Business Park, Ballysimon Rd, where the company carried out metering and other tests on taxis on behalf of the NTA.
As part of the meter verification test, Mr Carroll’s Avensis was found to have two front tyres with different sizes. On telling the accused his taxi had failed the test, he said Mr Carroll got very agitated and came close to his face, saying he would bite his nose off. Mr Doyle asked the accused to leave as their business had been finished. He stated the accused then said to him: “I’ll be back wearing a balaclava and put a bullet in your fucking head.”
Mr Doyle agreed with Brian McInerney, defending, that he had been made aware of a two-page letter of apology in which the accused agreed he flew off the handle.
However, he said this letter did not reflect what happened as the accused still denied threatening to kill him. Mr Doyle denied “egging the pudding” and hamming it up by making a State case out of a small spat.
Sgt Viv Downey gave evidence of a statement given by the accused in which he said he flew off the handle as he felt Mr Doyle might have been fairer to him. He was also angered that he would have to go to Dublin for a re-test as Mr Doyle said he would not repeat the test for him, owing to what had occurred. He denied threatening to kill Mr Doyle.
Sgt Downey said the accused stated he did not wish Mr Doyle any ill will.
The statement included comments: “If I said something like that [threaten to kill] there was no intention to carry it out and I apologise if I said it in the heat of the moment.
“I have a lot of trouble in my life. I am a reformed alcoholic with a heart condition and I’m up to my eyes in debt. I am very embarrassed and humbly apologise. I meant no harm to anybody. If I said anything I did not mean it. I humbly apologise for any words and withdraw any allegation or suggestion of visiting danger on him. If I said anything I did not mean it.”
The jury returned a unanimous not-guilty verdict after less than an hour.
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