Taxi fare dodger escapes conviction with charity donation

Imants Mickans (29) knew he would not be able to pay fare when he hailed driver

A man who dodged a €19.65 taxi fare will end up paying almost €620 to keep his record clean.

Imants Mickans (29), a Latvian national who had been living at St Brendan's Park, Tralee, and now lives at Tudor Court, Tipperary town, had hailed a taxi on the night of November 1st, 2009 at Oak Park, Tralee.

He asked the taxi driver to take him to a location to which the fare came to €19.65, Insp Donal Ashe outlined at Tralee District Court on Wednesday.

However, he did not pay for the taxi and knew he would not be able to pay for it when he hailed the driver.

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He was very drunk on the night, the Garda inspector said.

The man's solicitor, John Galvin, said his client had asked him to offer his apologies to the court and the taxi driver. He had no previous convictions and this was "a once-off", Mr Galvin said.

Mr Mickans’s brother was in court with the taxi fare and €100 for the taxi driver in compensation.

Leniency plea

“This situation is a once-off. He is employed in Tipperary town. He is not a burden on the State,” Mr Galvin said, pleading for leniency.

Mr Mickans pleaded guilty to two charges - to dishonestly obtaining a taxi service, knowing he did not have the money to pay for it, and to being so drunk he was a danger to himself or others at New Road, Tralee, on November 1st, 2009.

Judge James O’Connor said he would consider applying the Probation Act, which would mean Mr Mickans would not get a conviction, and he would strike out the charge upon a suitable contribution to the court poor box charity, along with the €120 brought into court by the man’s brother.

Judge O’Connor accepted an offer of a €500 donation and gave Mr Mickans until September to pay it.