Mum of two refused to pay taxi driver, claimed he was racist

A BLACKWATER woman decided not to pay a Rockhampton taxi driver after she claimed he was acting in a racist manner.

Tamara Vicky Flanders, 31, pleaded guilty at Blackwater Magistrates Court on November 2, to fare evasion.

Police prosecutor Sergeant Kevin Ongheen said Flanders and another passenger caught a 13cabs vehicle about 1.40am on May 24 at Norman Gardens.

The driver asked if she had money to pay the fare and Flanders said she did, but on completion of the trip, she left the vehicle and made no attempt to pay the $15 fare.

Sgt Ongheen said the male passenger gave the driver Flanders' name before also leaving the vehicle.

The taxi driver called the police who reviewed footage inside the vehicle and identified the passenger as Flanders.

She went to Blackwater Police Station at a later date, and when asked about the incident, she claimed her sister was the passenger.

Sgt Ongheen said police then showed Flanders photos from the recording and she admitted it was her and claimed she paid the fare at the beginning of the trip.

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Upon further discussion she then told police the driver was acting in a racist manner and she decided not to pay, the court heard.

Defence lawyer Brendan Gimbert said Flanders, a mother of two, had an incident with the same taxi driver previously, who made racist remarks to her sister.

He said on the previous occasion the taxi driver did a U-turn, and drove straight at Flanders, knocking a gate over.

On this occasion, Flanders realised it was the same driver about half way through the trip and made the "poor decision" not to pay him, Mr Gimbert said.

Magistrate Robert Walker said fare evasion in a taxi was more serious than other forms of transport because it caused a direct loss of income for the driver.

He said he viewed her story told to the police with some degree of skepticism after she changed her story on a number of occasions to suit the circumstances.

Flanders was fined $300 and ordered to pay $15 restitution to the taxi driver. The conviction was recorded.

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