Taxi driver fined for calling passenger and his father ‘scumbags’

Brian Markham ordered to pay €200 for calling pair ‘a disgrace to the human race’

Taxi driver Brian Markham pictured leaving the Four Courts after he appeared in the Dublin District Court. Photograph:  Collins Courts

Taxi driver Brian Markham pictured leaving the Four Courts after he appeared in the Dublin District Court. Photograph: Collins Courts

 

A taxi driver who called his passenger a “scumbag” and a “disgrace to the human race” has been fined €200 at Dublin District Court.

Brian Markham (50), of Glen Ellan Grove, Swords, Co. Dublin, was also ordered to pay €300 in prosecution costs following his hearing.

He had pleaded not guilty but was convicted of breaking taxi regulations by using abusive language to a passenger.

In evidence, Olan Callinan told Judge Anthony Halpin he complained to the National Transport Authority (NTA) after hiring Markham’s taxi on the morning of December 28th last year.

The run was from Dublin Airport to his home in Ballsbridge.

Mr Callinan, a barrister, told the court he and his mother had arrived back from America that morning.

He said the taxi driver told him “he would not help with the bags”. Mr Callinan said he had no difficulty with that and he put their luggage in the boot. Markham had been odd and abrupt, he said.

During the journey, Mr Callinan put down the rear window but it was put back up by Markham, who told him to keep it up.

He said he told Markham there was no need to say it like that and he found it quite rude and aggressive.

Mr Callinan said the drivers responded: “If I’m rude, that’s the way I am”.

There was no further conversation until they reached Ballsbridge where there was a dispute over the fare. He said he asked the fare and was told €29 but he alleged Markham wanted €30.

Mr Callinan said he wanted to pay the exact fare and not give the driver “one cent more” of a tip because of his rudeness.

He described the driver as aggressive and said he was getting “very het up” at this stage. He went to get his luggage and opened the boot at which Markham “slammed” it shut.

Mr Callinan said the driver became increasingly volatile and started to call him and his father, who had come out of the house, “scumbags”.

In evidence, Markham told the court Mr Callinan gave him an evil look when he got into the taxi. He said he had been recovering from pneumonia at the time and had not wanted the windows down because he was freezing. He had no intention of over-charging and denied he had been aggressive.

He admitted he told the complainant’s father, “You and your son are a disgrace to the human race” before leaving the scene.

Judge Halpin convicted Markham of breaking the taxi regulations by using offensive language to the passenger, which he described as unacceptable.

He said there was no excuse for the treatment of his passenger and it showed the level of his rudeness. It also fell short of what was expected of someone serving the public.

Markham, who had no prior convictions, told the court he was getting by and had no disposable income and that he had also survived a heart attack and his home had been repossessed.