A MAN who punched a cabbie over an argument about directions has avoided jail.
Peter Saville was picked up by an Aqua Cars minicab driver from a pub and paid £5 in advance.
The 61-year-old, who gave his name as David, disagreed with Abdulerhman Eltahir’s chosen route and they ended up back at the pub.
Kriston Berlevy, prosecuting, said: ‘“David” got out of the vehicle demanding the money back.
‘There was an exchange of words between him and the driver. He punched the minicab driver to the back of the head then got out into the front, punching Mr Eltahir to the face causing a cut.
‘The driver got out of the car and went to his boot to arm himself.’
Saville took £20 in coins from the car and fled, but was seen by two young boys hiding behind a block of flats.
Body-worn video recorded by police caught Saville saying: ‘He punched me first, so I punched him back.’
Saville was arrested and taken to a police station, but gave no comment. He admitted common assault, theft and causing racially-aggravated harassment, alarm or distress.
The driver suffered a cut to his mouth that took three days to heal after the assault on September 27 last year in Portsmouth.
Sentencing Saville at Portsmouth Crown Court, Judge Ian Pearson said: ‘You assaulted and stole from a taxi driver having racially abused him. You were very drunk at the time.’
He added: ‘I hope you take the chance that’s been offered to you, as you know what’s going to happen if you don’t.’
He handed Saville 18 weeks for the assault, 14 weeks for the public order offence and 20 weeks for the theft. The term, in all 52 weeks, was suspended for two years.
Saville must complete a six-month alcohol treatment requirement and 10 days of rehabilitation activities.
Unemployed Saville, formerly of Fawcett Road, Southsea, must pay £200 compensation out of his Employment Support Allowance to the driver. The court heard he had 61 convictions for 146 offences.
Tom Hoarder, defending, said Saville’s drink problem ‘explains his otherwise incomprehensible behaviour’.
He added: ‘It was an argument that developed out of essentially which route was being taken by this driver.’