A Penrose man who drunkenly bashed a taxi driver after disputing a $1 discrepancy in his usual fare has been jailed for at least 12 months.
Nicola Bortic, 42, repeatedly punched the male driver in a fit of rage one afternoon in early October after the pair disagreed on the cost of a trip between Dapto and Penrose.
The victim had picked up a female passenger from the Dapto taxi rank just after 3.30pm and drove her to Bortic’s unit complex.
Bortic, who was to pay for the fare, disagreed with the driver’s $14 price, arguing it should be $13 as he had paid on previous occasions.
Believing the driver was trying to rip him off, Bortic launched an unprovoked attack, punching the man multiple times in the head through the car window.
The driver tried to push Bortic away by opening the door on him, however Bortic was able to get between the door and the driver. He continued the assualt, knocking the man to the ground at one stage when he tried to stand.
Neighbours soon came to the driver’s aid, prompting Bortic to retreat to his unit.
In court on Friday, defence lawyer Tyrone Phillips said Bortic had had an aalcohol problem for the best part of two decades and had drunk an entire bottle of Vodka before the incident
He asked the court to take into account Bortic’s remorse for his actions.
However, Magistrate Michael Stoddart labelled Bortic’s behavior “atrocious”, saying the driver had been an innocent victim.
“He’s just a guy going about his work … he doesn’t deserve to be treated like this,” he said.
He sentenced Bortic to 20 months jail, with a 12 month non-parole period.
The sentence will start on June 7 this year, when Bortic finishes serving another sentence on unrelated matters.