Mum of five escapes jail for taxi fare evasion

Enniskillen Court House, RMGFH04

Enniskillen Court House, RMGFH04

A 34-year-old mother-of-five was handed a suspended prison sentence after she took a taxi from Omagh to Irvinestown but failed to pay the fare.  
Enniskillen Magistrates Court heard on Monday that at 2.38pm on August 25th last, police received a report from a taxi driver that Michelle Slattery of The Commons in Irvinestown had failed to pay for a taxi. 
The court heard that Slattery had taken a taxi from Omagh to Irvinestown and had been advised that the fare would be £22. When they reached Irvinestown at around 1.30pm, Slattery asked to be dropped off at a car park and said that she would walk up to the bank to get money to pay the fare. 
Slattery disappeared up an alleyway and after she failed to return, the taxi driver left his vehicle to go and look for her but could see no sign of her at the bank. The driver checked the area a number of times and did several laps of the town in his vehicle but could not see the defendant. After failing to attend a police interview, Slattery was later arrested and charged with making off without paying on the date in question. 
When she appeared before Monday’s hearing, she was also charged with failing to answer bail at Omagh Police Station on October 28th last.  
When interview by police about the incident on August 25th, Slattery told police that after leaving the taxi, she had been standing outside Danske Bank but it was closed for lunch from 1-2. Police checks found that the bank’s lunch hours were in fact from 12.30pm to 1.30pm. 
Deputy district judge Laura Levers heard that Slattery had used the taxi firm quite regularly and that the driver knew her by name.  
In relation to the failure to answer bail charge, the court heard that Slattery had been expecting a baby at the time and that it had simply slipped her mind.    
The judge was told that Slattery had past issues with substance abuse and greatly regretted finding herself in court.    
For failing to pay the taxi fare, Slattery was handed a two month prison sentence which was suspended for eight months and she was given a conditional discharge for failure to answer bail. Slattery was also ordered of pay restitution of £22 in relation to the unpaid fare. The judge added: “Do stay out of trouble”.           

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