Taxi driver gets 3 years for cleaver attack

A taxi driver who attacked a passenger with a meat cleaver after refusing to give the victim his change has been jailed for three years.

Bolanle Banjo, 50, kept driving the taxi while swiping at the passenger. The victim escaped by jumping from the moving taxi and rolling out of the way of oncoming traffic.

Banjo of New Ireland Rd, Rialto, had pleaded not guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to assault causing harm to Peter Brazil, production of an article intending to cause harm and dangerous driving on Neilstown road on August 8, 2011. He was convicted of all counts.

Judge Patrick McCartan also disqualified Banjo from driving for 20 years.

Detective Garda Padraic Jennings told Ronan Kennedy, prosecuting, that Mr Brazil was on temporary release from Mountjoy Prison and had gone to the prison to sign on as part of his release conditions. After doing this, he flagged down Banjo’s taxi and asked to go to Clondalkin.

He noticed the driver had plastic partition all around where he was sitting and thought that must be for the driver’s protection.

Banjo told the passenger he would have to pay in advance and Mr Brazil gave him €15 through a hole in the partition. When they arrived in Clondalkin, the fare on the meter was for less than €15 and Mr Brazil asked for his change.

The taxi driver then became aggressive and refused to give any money back. Mr Brazil reached out to take Banjo’s taxi identification in order to take down his name and taxi number.

Banjo struck the victim in the left arm with what Mr Brazil thought was a cut-throat razor. He said blood squirted everywhere. He said that Banjo cursed and shouted racist and abusive remarks while making circular swipes at him with the knife through the hole in the perspex partition.

Mr Brazil opened his door to try and get away but Banjo had driven off again. He told Mr Brazil he would cut his throat and called him a “junkie bastard”.

The court heard that Banjo was driving furiously and dangerously, driving on the wrong side against traffic and causing other drivers to swerve to avoid a crash.

Mr Brazil jumped from the car onto the roadway and rolled to the side of the road to avoid oncoming cars. Gardaí found him in a distressed state with blood pouring from both hands. He had held onto the taxi driver’s ID card.

Judge McCartan said it was clear that Banjo suffers from a psychotic delusion.

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