Published: 00:01, 05 February 2015
A drunken clubber got more than he bargained for after punching a taxi driver called Mohammed Ali, a court heard.
Daniel Herivel, 22, of Craylands Square, Swanscombe, was coming back from Air and Breathe night club in Dartford, when he attacked Mr Ali on December 9, 2012.
Herivel was in the cab with his friends Jonathon Stow and Michael Hill, when he kicked through the cab’s Perspex partition and landed blows to the back of Mr Ali’s head.
He also threatened the driver and said he would “come back” for him.
The plucky cabbie headed back to a taxi rank with CCTV where the police were called and the three men arrested.
Herivel, who was described by the victim as “very aggressive”, denied common assault and criminal damage but was found guilty by Dartford magistrates on Wednesday.
The court heard how a dispute started when Mr Ali asked the group to pay their £12 fare up front.
They had been drinking. Herivel was described as “highly intoxicated” in a police statement read to the court by prosecutor Lorraine Webb.
After pulling away from the busy taxi rank outside the club in Essex Road, the driver refused to go any further than the roundabout at the end of Home Gardens.
Herivel got aggressive but the fare was paid and Mr Ali drove on.
Things became sour again, the court was told, when one of the group persistently asked the driver to supply them with drugs, which Mr Ali refused.
Herivel then accused the driver of trying to sell him and his friends “sniff” and demanded their fare back.
“You think you’ve got this plastic part, you think I won’t get to you?” - Herivel
When Mr Ali refused, Herivel said “You think you’ve got this plastic part, you think I won’t get to you?”
Mr Ali said: “Then he kicked the Perspex barrier. It must have been very hard otherwise it wouldn’t have broken that easily.”
When the driver said he was calling the police, Herivel started punching him in the back of the head, neck and shoulder.
At this point, Mr Ali turned around his cab and drove towards the Home Gardens roundabout near Dartford railway station, where he knew there was CCTV.
Herivel stuck his hand through a hole in the broken Perspex and unlocked the doors.
He and Mr Stow jumped out, while Mr Hill stayed in the car and called the police.
It was at this point the defendant threatened Mr Ali.
The driver said: “He came to my window and said ‘I know you and I will come back for you’.”
Mr Ali drove to a rank in Market Street, where there was CCTV, with only Mr Hill in his cab. The other two men followed and police officers intervened.
When Herivel took the stand and was questioned by his solicitor James Ross, he said the group believed they had been kept against their will.
Both he and Mr Hill, who was called as a defence witness, claimed Mr Ali had tried to sell them cocaine and that was why they wanted to leave the cab.
Before passing sentence magistrate Mick Wenban, speaking for the bench, said he was not convinced by what Herivel had said.
However, he described Mr Ali’s account of events as “credible and consistent”.
He said: “The bench views crimes of assault, especially on people working in the public sectors, as extremely serious.
“These people are only doing their job and should be expected to do so in safety.”
Herivel was given a three-month curfew with a tag and was told he must pay £800 in compensation, £620 costs and a £60 victim surcharge.
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