Minibus operator, 67, assaulted in fare row
A taxi driver punched a minibus operator in the face in a row about passengers at a South Shore beach.
Aaron Scott, 34, admitted in Magistrates’ Court yesterday that he hit Larry Franklin, 67, because he thought he had tried to poach prospective passengers.
Scott, from Warwick, told the court: “I gave him one. I shouldn’t have, but I did.”
The incident happened on August 6 in the car park at Horseshoe Beach in Southampton. Prosecutors said the pair got into an argument over passengers leaving the beach.
Carrington Mahoney, Deputy Director of Public Prosecutions, said Scott punched Mr Franklin in the mouth without warning.
He added that Scott was pulled away by other drivers.
Mr Franklin suffered a cut lip and numbness in his mouth as a result of the blow.
Scott left the area before police arrived, but went to Hamilton Police Station the next day.
Scott told the court that when he arrived at the beach, there were only two or three other taxis, all of which were waiting for their passengers to return.
He said: “I approached these tourists to ask if they needed transport back to Dockyard and this driver says they didn’t need it.”
The pair argued and Scott admitted that he threw a single punch.
Scott told the court that Horseshoe Bay had become a battleground between taxi drivers and minibus drivers because of the lack of regulation at the popular tourist attraction.
He said: “Minibus drivers form a line, kind of like a train, and they squeeze the taxi drivers out of work. They have signs to get people to fill up their buses and taxi drivers are sitting there waiting for work.”
Scott said that action needed to be taken to regulate taxis and minibuses in the area as is done at the airport.
He added: “People who come to the beach don’t know what vehicle they should get in.
“With the amount of minibuses on the road, the money is going into their pockets, not our pockets. It just needs to be properly assessed.”
Senior magistrate Juan Wolffe fined Scott $1,000 for the assault and advised him to stay away from Mr Franklin.
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