A Kirriemuir man who fell from a moving taxi while assaulting the driver has avoided a jail term.
Jamie Stewart got into Bruce McRitchie’s cab on the A926 in Kirriemuir, Angus, with two friends and asked to be taken to Forfar.
During the journey the trio first sat drinking beer and chatting - but began whispering, prompting Mr McRitchie, 45, to pull over and ask them to pay up.
Stewart then refused to pay and threatened Mr McRitchie who under duress agreed to take them into Forfar.
As they drove off, Stewart suddenly grabbed the driver around the neck from behind - then opened the door of the cab while it drove along.
He then fell out of the car while it moved along at around 15mph before jumping up and kicking the driver’s door.
Fiscal depute Eilidh Robertson told Dundee Sheriff Court: “The accused’s footprint was later found on the outside of the driver’s door of the taxi.
“After the accused got back in the car the accused made derogatory remarks towards Mr McRitchie.
“The accused grabbed Mr McRitchie from behind again, and at this time punched him on the side of his head.
“Mr McRitchie stopped the car and the accused and his companions ran off.
“They left beer bottles behind in the car and the accused left his mobile phone in the back seat.
“The accused was later found under the influence of alcohol and had an injury to his shoulder consistent with being sustained when he fell from the moving taxi.
“When he was interviewed he said he could not recall even being in a taxi at the time of the offence.”
Stewart, 27, of Hillhead Terrace, Kirriemuir, Angus, pleaded guilty on indictment to a charge of assault committed on June 1 2014 in a taxi travelling from the A926 to Market Street, Angus.
Sheriff Tom Hughes placed Stewart on a two year community payback order with supervision.