Teens viciously bash elderly taxi driver over $7.90 fare

TWO teenagers who viciously assaulted an elderly taxi driver have walked free from court.

Steve Robert Drobny and Nathan Edward Tulungi Levy pleaded guilty in the Hervey Bay District Court on Wednesday.

Drobny was charged with assault occasioning bodily harm and Levy with assault occasioning grievous bodily harm against the 64-year-old driver.

Judge Hugh Botting said the men attacked a vulnerable elderly worker doing his job.

Prosecutor Ken Spinaze said the 19 year olds got in the cab at 5am on July 6.

The cab fare was $7.90 when the driver overheard "frantic" discussion between Drobny and Levy about how they would pay.

The driver then stopped the cab, asked the teens for identification and when they refused, said he would take them to the police station.

The two men got out and left the door open.

When the taxi driver got out to close the door, Drobny tackled him to the ground.

As the driver lay on the ground with a jacket over his head, Levy also attacked.

"There were multiple punches and kicks to an elderly man," Mr Spinaze said.

"He couldn't defend himself."

Drobny and Levy left the scene while the driver had to take himself to the Hervey Bay Hospital where scans showed he had several fractures including one on his skull.

Drobny's defence barrister Eoin Mac Giolla Ri said the men were drinking after the death of a friend.

"A close friend of theirs committed suicide," he said.

Judge Botting said the community was concerned about alcohol-fuelled violence.

"I'm conscious of the public debate at the moment," he said.

Drobny was sentenced to 150 hours of community service for knocking the driver to the ground.

For the assault resulting in the driver's fractures, Levy was sentenced to 30 months imprisonment.

He will not spend a day behind bars after getting immediate parole.

NOTE: An earlier version of this story incorrectly reported Levy was sentenced to 13 months imprisonment.



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