Reveller racially abused taxi-driver and smashed cab window

Chesterfield magistrates' court.
Chesterfield magistrates' court.

A reveller who racially abused a taxi-driver and smashed a cab window has been ordered to pay £1,301.95 and placed on a community order with unpaid work.

Chesterfield magistrates’ court heard on Wednesday, May 11, how Kirsty Burton, 22, of Rockley Close, Chesterfield, had got into a dispute with taxi driver Nisar Suleman when she had been unable to pay her fare and she had insulted him before kicking in the cab window.

Prosecuting solicitor Becky Allsop said: “The taxi-driver drove to Old Whittington, Chesterfield, about 1am, on Christmas Day, and one female got out and offered Burton some money and Burton said she would deal with the fare.

“Mr Suleman was asked to go to an address in Grangewood to drop off Burton and the meter was on and the fare was £29.95 but the defendant only had £4.80 and said she would give her name and address and owe the difference.”

The complainant said he would drive her to the police station instead, according to Mrs Allsop, and Burton racially abused Mr Suleman and as he drove away she kicked and smashed the cab window.

Burton told police she had not had the money to pay the fare and the taxi driver had driven away with her locked in the car and she was scared and felt vulnerable.

She also claimed that before she abused him the driver had said that she was ignorant and that he would never get this behaviour in Pakistan.

Burton was convicted of racially aggravated criminal damage and criminal damage after a trial on May 6 but District Judge Andrew Davison explained that a change in the law meant that the conviction now stood as simply one charge of racially aggravated damage.

Defence solicitor Julie Page said: “The issue for the trial was whether Miss Burton’s actions in causing the damage were unlawful because of the actions of the taxi driver.”

Ms Page added that there was also an issue whether the taxi driver had made any comment provoking Burton which he denied.

Burton had also acted out of character, according to Ms Page, and the defendant also finds Christmas a very difficult time after her mother had died.

District Judge Andrew Davison sentenced Burton to a 12 month community order with a Rehabilitation Activity Requirement and 120 hours of unpaid work.

She was also ordered to pay £621.95 in compensation, a £60 victim surcharge and £620 costs.

Defence solicitor Julie Page confirmed that Burton intends to appeal the conviction and sentence.