Young Plymouth boxer punched taxi driver who smiled at girlfriend
A TALENTED amateur boxer punched a taxi driver after the cabbie smiled at his girlfriend, a court heard.
Ryan Hart struck the man because he thought he was looking at his girlfriend in the back of the car, Plymouth Crown Court was told.
Hart is one of the city's best amateur fighters – and travels across the country to take part in national events.
He was given a community order with unpaid work.
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The 22-year-old, of Headland Park, in Greenbank, admitted the common assault of Martin Juren on August 5 last year. He also admitted making off without paying the £4.50 fare.
Alistair Verheijen, for the Crown Prosecution Service, said the Taxifirst driver picked up Headland and the woman near the city centre branch of Sainsbury's.
He added Mr Juren drove to Headland Park, clocking up a fare of £4.60.
Mr Verheijen said he in fact smiled at the couple and said he would only charge £4.50.
He added: "Rather than be grateful, the defendant started to have a go at the driver and accused him on four different occasions of smiling at his girlfriend."
Mr Verheijen said Mr Juren said he "meant nothing by it", but Hart refused to pay the fare and got out of the car.
He added the driver followed him, the pair argued and squared up.
Mr Verheijen said Hart punched him to the face, causing him pain but no injury.
The court heard he told police he was drunk at the time.
Kelly Scrivener, for Hart, said he was a talented amateur boxer who coached youngsters and travelled to tournaments all over the country.
She said: "He accepts his behaviour was out of order. He acted out of character. He was with an attractive woman and thought the driver was looking at her."
Hart, a member of the Mayflower Club, has in the past reached the quarter finals of the national Amateur Boxing Association championships. He has also been invited to attend England trials.
Recorder Richard Davison gave him a 12-month community order with 80 hours unpaid work.
He was ordered to pay Mr Juren £250 compensation for the assault and £4.50 for the lost fare.