A CARLISLE taxi driver acting as a peacemaker between a rowing couple was knocked to the ground and assaulted by an angry boyfriend.

Gareth Ian Gibson, 39, committed the offence after having “an unreasonable” amount to drink during his birthday celebrations, the city’s Rickergate court heard.

The defendant, of Harraby Green Road, Carlisle, admitted a common assault.

Prosecutor Neil White told the court the victim was working in English Street, Carlisle, on the night of August 24 when he saw Gibson and his girlfriend arguing.

As they became louder, the taxi driver intervened in the hope of pacifying them.

Gibson reacted aggressively, punching the driver before the two fell to the ground. The victim said that he was then kicked in the face.

He suffered cuts and bruises to his face.

Jeff Smith, for Gibson, said the assault happened as the defendant celebrated his birthday with his girlfriend.

“They’d had an unreasonable amount to drink,” said the lawyer. When the taxi driver approached him, said the lawyer, Gibson considered his manner aggressive and as the men began to grapple, the taxi diver fell.

According to one eye-witness, said the lawyer, the cabbie ended up on the ground as a consequence of him moving towards the defendant.

Other witnesses did not necessarily corroborate the taxi driver’s assertion that he was kicked in the face, which Gibson denied, said Mr Smith.

Yet another witness spoke of seeing a male getting the victim “in a headlock” before they fell.

Mr Smith added: “My instructions are that the taxi driver came towards him [Gibson] and because the defendant was intoxicated he misread the approach.

“He reacted violently and that’s why he has pleaded guilty. Any injuries were a consequence of the taxi driver falling towards the floor.”

Mr Smith added that Gibson had no previous convictions for violence.

The prosecution accepted that there was no suggestion of any violence between the defendant and his girlfriend.

Magistrates imposed a community order which includes a 16-week 8pm to 8am curfew, along with £200 compensation to the victim, £85 costs, and a £90 victim surcharge.