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Man who assaulted taxi driver after lift to Maghaberry dealt four month prison sentence

Court heard that the 26-year-old had been released on compassionate bail from the prison at the time of the offence

Taxi

A man who assaulted a taxi driver after being given a lift to Maghaberry has been sentenced to four months in prison.

Court heard that the 26-year-old had been released on compassionate bail from the prison at the time of the offence.

Christopher Joseph Vance, whose address was given as HMP Maghaberry, pleaded guilty to common assault at Craigavon Magistrates’ on Friday, via videolink from the prison.

Prosecution outlined that on June 13, 2018, a taxi driver had been called to collect a male from Belfast.

He picked up the defendant, whom he suspected of being under the influence of drugs, and was instructed to take him to Maghaberry.

Court heard Vance was on compassionate bail and had been due to return to the prison the day before.

The taxi driver noted that the defendant slept for much of the journey. Upon arrival he attempted to rouse his passenger.

Vance then became aggressive, he reached over the chair, grabbing and assaulting the complainant, who admitted to punching the defendant once in self defence.

Following the incident, the injured party complained of tenderness and redness to the left of his face.

The defendant did make a counter allegation when interviewed on October 16, but this was not prosecuted.

Defence solicitor Chris Logue stated: “He was recently sentenced in the Crown Court for a burglary and arson matter, for which he received 22 months in custody and two years on licence.

“He has served a lot of that and is due for release in April ’21. This is a man who is only 26 and the reality is that if he puts a foot wrong he will serve the remainder of any licence in custody.”

District Judge Amanda Brady said: “He is in custody until April, that is three months or the equivalent of a six month sentence which is the maximum I can give. So, what I am doing is purely academic.”

Vance was sentenced to a total of four months in prison for the common assault.

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