A 35-year-old man has been handed a suspended jail term following an altercation with an Uber taxi driver for farting in the car. The incident occurred in November last year when Aleksander Bonchev, the taxi driver, was taking James Mallett to Chasers nightclub in Kingswood, South Gloucestershire.
During the ride Mallett, who was drunk, broke wind inside the cab. Bonchev, who was already having a tough day after suffering abuses from other customers, could not let it pass and the matter quickly escalated. He asked his customer to leave the vehicle. Mallett did get out but offered to fight with Bonchev and punched him on the head, following which Bonchev knocked him down in self defence.
Mallett pleaded guilty to assault occasioning actual harm. He was handed a six months jail term, suspended for 18 months. He was also ordered to pay $650 as compensation and complete 120 hours unpaid work.
David Scutt, who represented Bonchev, said that his client received a call to collect Mallett and three others. “As he was driving the defendant broke wind. Mr Bonchev found that offensive and asked them to leave the vehicle,” Bristol Live quoted Bonchev as saying.
The gravity of the sentence could be understood by how severely the plaintiff was impacted by the incident. In an impact sentence made before the court, Bonchev said that following the brawl he had to give up his job and could not pay for his car. He could not even afford rent and ended up homeless, after which he returned to his home in Bulgaria.
The recorder Miss Alexia Power told Mallett, “Mr Bonchev sustained a broken finger, he was unable to work, lost his job with Uber, lost his accommodation and lost his car. All because he was doing his job that evening.”
Scutt said that after the fight, the young lady accompanying Mallett persuaded him to leave and were located by the police in Forest Road, Fishponds. Mallett had a cut on his bottom lip and was clearly intoxicated. He claimed Mallett was abusive even to the police and alleged that the driver had assaulted him.
Mallett’s lawyer Anthony Bignall said that his client was a “polite, helpful, well-behaved and courteous” man who cared for a dependent relative and employed four people. He, however, admitted Mallett “behaved in an unattractive manner that night.”