Taxi driver threatened to shoot tester, court told

After a taxi driver’s car failed a fare meter test, he threatened to “put a bullet in the head” of a National Transport Authority inspector, a court has heard.

Taxi driver threatened to shoot tester, court told

Christopher Carroll, aged 58, of 30, The Crescent, Kilteragh, Dooradoyle, Limerick, has pleaded not guilty at Limerick Circuit Court to a charge of threatening to kill or cause serious harm.

Patrick Doyle said that, on April 8, 2013, he was working with SGS Ireland Ltd at East Link Business Park, Ballysimon Rd, where the company carried out metering and other tests on taxis on behalf of the National Transport Authority.

As part of the 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, Mr Carroll got very agitated and came close to his face saying he would “bite his fucking nose off”.

Mr Doyle asked the accused to leave as their business had been finished.

The accused then said: “I’ll be back wearing a balaclava and put a bullet in your fucking head.”

Mr Doyle was very shocked that somebody could get so agitated over a minor matter which would not mean any extra cost to rectify.

He asked the accused to repeat what he had said and Mr Carroll walked away mumbling something he could not hear.

After contacting his supervisor over what had happened, Mr Doyle continued testing other vehicles.

Half an hour later, he saw Mr Carroll’s car drive past the testing premises slowly.

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 had flown off the handle.

Mr Doyle said the letter did not reflect what happened, as the accused still denied threatening to kill him.

Mr Doyle denied “egging the pudding and 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 retest 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. Things got hot and if he said something which offended he apologised.

The statement included comments: “If I said something like that [the 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 drove around the vicinity two or three occasions contemplating whether I should apologise.

“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.”

Evidence has concluded and Judge John Hannan will address the jury this morning before sending them out to consider their verdict.

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