A TAXI driver got whacked in the nose by an irate Curtis Island electrician after telling his back-seat passenger to clean up his Macca's burger mess or pay a $110 clean-up fee.
Strongly denying any guilt, Eugene Pollock, 30, unsuccessfully defended police charges of assaulting driver Sultan Singh and causing wilful damage to the taxi on September 6, in a court hearing.
Magistrate Jeffrey Clarke found him guilty of both offences.
Police prosecutor Gavin Reece, in the evidence of Mr Singh, maintained Pollock struck the driver once on the nose through an open window after driving him and fiancee Haylee Cullen to their Glen Eden home at 12.30am after their night out to celebrate a friend's birthday.
He first took the couple through the city McDonald's drive-through to buy food.
Mr Singh accused Pollock of deliberately breaking a wing mirror on the taxi in anger. And police officers called to the scene on the driveway at their home said they saw a wing mirror "dangling" .
One officer reported seeing Mr Singh's nose slightly red and another said she saw dried blood on his nostrils.
Police said they did not interview Pollock as he was too intoxicated.
Pollock denied hitting Mr Singh, and maintained damage to the wing mirror was accidental when he stumbled.
Pollock said he drank beers and wine that night and agreed he was swearing and had "a robust discussion" with the driver.
Mr Singh said when Pollock opened the door to get out of the taxi the interior light came on and he saw the McDonald's wrappers mess and a burger on the seat.
"I asked him to clean it. She (Ms Cullen) said she was happy to clean," Mr Singh said.
"He was aggressive, said he didn't want to clean it.
"She paid me the fare money and they both argued about cleaning.
"He came toward me aggressively. He hit the door. He smashed the side mirror with his hand. The inside falls out. It was hanging out.
"I wind my window down to explain there are security cameras and please don't do it. He smashed me on the nose. It hurt."
Cross-examined by defence barrister Jordan Ahlstrand, Mr Singh denied telling Pollock to pay the $110 cleaning fee.
"No sir. They both argued. She was happy to clean. He was not happy," he said.
"There was still a mess left. Coke spilled on the floor."
Mr Singh said it was "not true" when Mr Ahlstrand put to him that Pollock stumbled on a protruding car wheel and made contact with the mirror to regain balance.
Mr Reece ran still images taken from the intermittent taxi camera. Although none showed a punch it did show Pollock with a clenched fist.
Ms Cullen said she "saw nothing" of a punch or mirror being broken.
"He (Pollock) was not happy. He thought it (cleaning fee) was excessive," she said.
Mr Clarke found Pollock guilty of both charges, saying he did not find him to be an impressive witness, and nor was his evidence believable with complete denial of an assault.
"What you did was in the peak of frustration. Your behaviour was outrageous, " Mr Clarke said.
"What you should have done was not make the mess, or clean it up."
Pollock was fined $1000 for the assault and $300 for the damage, a conviction not recorded so not to affect his employment.
But Mr Clarke warned that was not likely to happen again.
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