When he thought a taxi driver was reaching for a weapon a 60-year-old Portadown man grabbed him by the arms, Craigavon Magistrates Court heard last Friday.
Ronald McGuinness, Garvaghy Park, Portadown, was fined £200, with a £15 offender’s levy, for assault on September 9 last year.
He was also fined £100 for criminal damage and ordered to pay £138 compensation for the damage.
The court heard that at 8.15pm police received a report of an assault on a taxi driver.
The injured party had picked up the defendant at his home address. There was a verbal altercation and the driver asked McGuinness to leave the vehicle.
The defendant grabbed the injured party by the arms and placed his elbows on his chest. When the driver attempted to radio for help McGuinness pulled out the wires for the headset.
When interviewed the defendant accepted he had grabbed the injured party by the wrists.
He said he saw the driver move his hand down the side of the seat and thought he was going to lift something so he tried to defend himself.
McGuinness denied any intention to cause the damage which amounted to £138.
A barrister for the defendant said McGuinness, who had a few drinks taken, was pre-occupied with his phone.
The taxi driver thought he was being asked to return to the address so he turned the car round. The defendant asked him what he was doing and there was an argument.
Things got out of control and McGuinness thought the driver was going for a weapon but he was only trying to push the panic button.
District Judge, Mr Mervyn Bates, said the defendant’s long, clear record had to be acknowledged.