Court discharges taxi driver without conviction

Staff Reporter

A taxi driver, who faced assault charges, walked out of an Auckland Court after the presiding judge pronounced that he was not guilty.

In a long-drawn legal battle, the accused was discharged without conviction.

Singh, the taxi driver had earlier been charged under the Crimes Act for assaulting another taxi driver.

The incident started with a verbal altercation and abuse on the issue of parking and then took an ugly turn. Mr Singh was alleged to have assaulted the other driver several times, leaving injuries. Mr Singh is then alleged to have fled the scene.

Witness for the Prosecution

During a Police interrogation, Mr Singh is reported to have refuted some of the allegations of the victim. Later, another person informed the Police that he was an eye-witness to the alleged assault.

Mr Singh was then charged under the Crimes Act.

The accused then engaged Gurbrinder Aulakh as his lawyer.

The counsel disputed the summary of facts at the Court on behalf of his client.

However, the prosecution persisted on its case and the matter was then assigned to disputed facts hearing.

Counsel’s persistence

During the intervening time, the counsel continued to persist with the prosecution asking for amendments, to save the Court time, and the abuse of the process.

He asked prosecution to amend the summary of facts, pointing to some of the conflicting and contradicting evidence on the file.

The prosecution, noting the contradictions, agreed to amend the part relating to the blows to the head of the victim, mentioned in the summary of facts.

Hearing vacated

Following this, the disputed facts hearing was vacated, and the matter was set down for sentencing for the common assault charge under the Crimes Act.

Before the sentencing, the counsel applied to the Court for a s106 discharge for his client. However, the prosecution opposed it and filed a letter written by the victim stating how deeply the incident had affected his work and social life, and the disruption caused due to his ongoing medical treatment due to the injuries relating to the incident.

The Court directed the prosecution to file written submissions in opposition.

At the next hearing, the Judge heard the submissions from both the sides.

Discharge opposed

The prosecution strongly opposed the discharge, stating that the defendant’s apprehensions as speculative.

Mr Aulakh made strong submissions in support and pointed how the direct and indirect consequences of the conviction would be severally disproportionate, to his client and client’s family, when weighed against the offending.

At the next hearing, the counsel brought to the attention of the Court how his client had taken initiative towards making himself a better and reformed person.

After considering all the documents and submissions, the Court finally discharged Mr Singh without a conviction, and he walked out as not guilty.



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