A teenager has been sentenced for attacking a taxi driver who confronted him over an unpaid fare causing a smashed jaw, eye socket and cheekbone.
Joe Conners was convicted of grievous bodily harm to the taxi driver Leicester.
The incident, which happened back on the evening of Friday August 11, 2017, saw the taxi driver pick up Conners and three other people in Leicester and agreed to take them to Kibworth.
Two of the passengers were dropped off on route to Conners destination of The Railway Arms pub. On arrival, Conners and his unknown accomplice left the taxi and entered the pub, saying they would return to pay the fare.
Waiting outside his taxi, the victim watched as the two men left the pub with no intention of paying. When challenging their non-payment, he was attacked by Conners and his friend.
The unknown accomplice threw the first punch to the victims ribs, with Conners following up with a punch to the face before smashing the taxi drivers head against some metal railings.
The taxi driver was taken to hospital where it was confirmed he suffered a broken eye socket, a broken jaw and broken cheekbone.
The victims needed metal plates inserted to help reconstruct his face.
Judge Robert Brown said: "You were only 17 at the time, but it's a serious matter.
"Almost two years have passed since this offence.
"In that period you haven't committed another offence and hadn't committed any offences of any sort prior to this one.
"The psychological report tells me you have got issues ... having been assessed with borderline perceptional reasoning.
"I think it's likely you were playing the lesser role in this incident with the taxi driver.
"You have significant learning difficulties ...and are described as being easily led.
"There's a realistic prospect of rehabilitation."
The court heard how Connors played an important role helping his father to care for one of his brothers who was severely mentally impaired and assisting his mother who had bi-polar disorder, which was noted and accepted by the judge.
Judge Brown said custody would have "a harmful impact" on the defendant's family.
He added: "If you'd been dealt with promptly it would have been in the youth court and the sentencing options would have been radically different and it's right I take that into account.
As reported in the Leicestershire Live, Connors, of Kibworth Harcourt, was given a 12 month sentence of detention, suspended for two years, with a three month electronically monitored night time curfew, between 9pm and 6am.
He was ordered to do 120 hours of unpaid work and attend 15 days of a rehabilitation activity requirement.
Judge Brown told Connors "A taxi driver is someone who provides a public service."
He described the attack as "serious" and "a disgrace" saying if the defendant could not afford a taxi fare he should not have got into the cab.
The judge said he was prepared to give Connors "a chance."
He said: "You should consider yourself lucky you're not going into custody immediately."
The defendant's father addressed the judge in court, saying his son was normally well behaved and provided invaluable help at home and acted "completely out of character" when he committed the offence.
Dharmendra Toor, mitigating, said there had been a significant delay of about a year before charging Connors and bringing the case to court.
He said: "The defendant accepts the jury's verdict and his conviction of the offence.
"This was an isolated offence and there was no pre-meditation.
"He's of low cognitive ability with substantial learning difficulties.
"He's now having assistance with numeracy and literacy.
"He's unlikely to ever appear before a court again."
Detective Constable Rob Pountney, who led the investigation, said: “The victim sustained some significant facial injuries later undergoing reconstructive surgery and having a metal plate placed into his face.
"He continues to this day to be in pain from the injuries he sustained.
“Connors chose to assault the victim and inflict some nasty injuries all for the sake of a taxi fare of less than £20.
"While his conviction doesn’t take away the continued pain that the victim suffers, I hope he can take some little comfort in that the person responsible was found guilty.”
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