Plymouth taxi driver punched two men, scarring one for life
A TAXI driver repeatedly punched two pedestrians in the face – leaving one scarred for life, a court heard.
Marius Betean, aged 32, attacked the two men in the city centre after last year's Bonfire Night fireworks, Plymouth magistrates were told.
Betean, of Melbourne Street, Stonehouse, had denied assaulting Oscar Daws and James Hickman by beating but was found guilty after a trial.
His solicitor told the court he would be appealing against his conviction.
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Ramin Shamsolahi said the self-employed driver was likely to lose his taxi licence and would have to return to his native Romania.
Magistrates gave Betean a 12-month community order with 60 hours of unpaid work.
He was ordered to pay Mr Daws £750 in compensation and £200 towards prosecution costs.
Presiding magistrate Joan Jones said: "One assault resulted in a deep cut requiring stitches and ended up with permanent scarring but a minor disfigurement."
Angela Furniss, for the Crown Prosecution Service, said Mr Daws and Mr Hickman were making their way to a friend's house after the fireworks on November 5 last year.
She said as the pair walked down Mayflower Street, they noticed a people carrier being used as a taxi.
Mrs Furniss added: "The driver began to shout and gesture at them."
She said the taxi turned around at a roundabout and the driver got out and began a conversation with the pair.
Mrs Furniss added: "The driver punched Mr Hickman repeatedly towards the face. He pulled Mr Daws to the floor and repeatedly punched him to the face, cutting him to the lip."
Mr Shamsolahi said Betean had come to Britain four years ago from Romania and had worked as a self-employed taxi driver since.
He added he would have to report his conviction to Plymouth City Council and was likely to lose his taxi licence.
Mr Shamsolahi said: "His employers Taxifirst would support him but could see no further use for him. He is in a wretched situation."
He added his status means he can only work in this country if he is self-employed.
Mr Shamsolahi said he could also not claim benefits and would have to return to Romania.