A Nigerian taxi driver has been convicted of racially abusing a Pakistani pizza delivery driver in Cork.
The taxi driver denied racism and asked how he could say such a thing when he, too, was a foreigner in a foreign land.
Atif Akbar told Cork District Cork that, on February 12, 2015, when he pulled in to let the taxi driver pass, he thought the driver was going to thank him, but instead the motorist rolled down his window and said: “You fucking Paki, go back to your country.”
Coincidentally, the pizza delivery man saw the same taxi driver on February 19 at Washington St, and followed him to the front gates of University College Cork, where he said there was verbal abuse of a similar nature when he confronted him about the first incident.
That was the evidence from Mr Akbar yesterday in the case against Osara Aruebose, of 25 Brooklodge Square, Glanmire, Co Cork.
Aruebose denied even encountering the other motorist at Gilabbey St. He said the first time he met him was when the gentleman approached him and said he would have his taxi licence taken off him within three days. He said he never racially abused him.
“Why should I call him a Paki and say ‘go back to your own country’? I am from Nigeria. Just like him, I am a foreigner in a foreign land here,” said Aruebose.
Judge Grainne O’Neill said she was sorry to say the defendant had not created any reasonable doubt and convicted him on both counts of using the abusive or insulting words. She fined him €200 on the first count and €300 for the same offence a week later.
Emmet Boyle, defending, said Aruebose had been in Ireland for 15 years, the last nine of those working as a taxi driver without a single conviction of any kind.
Inspector Gary McPolin accused Aruebose of using smoke and mirrors to avoid answering questions about the incidents. Aruebose denied being racist: “I am a foreigner in a foreign land. How can I tell him a racist word? It cannot happen.”
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