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Home James customer in drunken attack on driver

News | Published:

A DRIVER from Home James was pushed to the floor and repeatedly kicked in the head by a customer who had drunk 10 pints of beer.

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Craig Abbot, 35, of The Lighthouse, 19, Le Courtil de Fontaine, Tertre Lane, Vale, admitted charges of assault and drink-driving when he appeared in the Magistrate’s Court yesterday.

The court was told how Abbot, his partner and his partner’s friend had gone out for the night and had ordered Home James to collect them at 1am.

Abbot later admitted drinking five pints of lager at the first place they went to and five more at The Fermain Tavern.

The Home James driver collected them and drove them to the friend’s home at La Vrangue Estate. There the defendant became aggressive and told the driver to get out of his car ‘before I smack you one.’ When the driver did this, Abbot pushed him in the back into a hedge.

He pulled the man to the floor and kicked him in the head numerous times before dragging him into the road. Abbot shouted: ‘If you want a fight, let’s go for it.’

The defendant then got in his car and drove off.

When police went to his home they found him slumped in the driver’s seat of the vehicle and the headlights were on.

The car keys were underneath him on the seat.

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He failed a roadside breath test. Another at the police station identified 99 micrograms of alcohol per 100 millilitres of his breath, when the legal limit is 35.

In interview he said they had gone out at about 6.40pm and he had drunk 10 pints over the evening. He could not remember leaving The Fermain Tavern. The next thing he recalled was being arrested at his home.

He could not remember the assault or driving the car. He said the Home James driver had no reason to lie and he did not know why he had assaulted him.

The driver told police that he had not been scared and had ‘taken it as it came.’

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Abbot had a previous drink-driving conviction from 2010, when his licence was suspended for three years.

This conviction for drink-driving put him within the Royal Court sentencing guidelines that it had handed down to the Magistrate’s Court for the offence.

Advocate Andrew Ayres said there was little he could say on the facts. His client had an alcohol problem. The victim had not sought to exaggerate things and his client was lucky that they were not focussing on the victim’s injuries as it had been a sustained attack. A custodial sentence would wreak havoc on his family situation.

He had three jobs and worked between 55 and 60 hours per week.

Judge Gary Perry said the defendant got credit for his early guilty pleas.

Glowing references were before the court of the defendant when he was sober.

‘But the Probation Service say you have the capacity to drink yourself into oblivion and you will now have to deal with the consequences of having done so here,’ he said.

‘Whichever way I look at it, this was a vicious and prolonged attack on a man who was providing a service to the community and yourself. The court has said many times that taxi drivers need protection.’

Judge Perry praised the victim for the stoical way in which he had approached the matter and, while his injuries were only minor, they could easily have ruined his life.

Abbot was jailed for five months for the assault and he must pay £300 compensation to his victim. One month prison, consecutive, was imposed for drink-driving with a five years driving ban.

Nigel Baudains

By Nigel Baudains
News reporter

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