A young man has been labelled a coward over an incident where he drunkenly put his hand on the thigh and stomach of a woman driving a taxi.
Magistrate Miranda Moody said the victim would have had "the bejesus scared out of her".
Defence lawyer Mark Cronin said Joshua Mercieca had no memory of the incident, which happened on a trip from the SS&A Club to his North Albury home.
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Mercieca didn't reach his destination, as the driver promptly stopped her car after the assault and ordered him out - but only after he paid the $13.85 fare.
"It's no wonder you don't get many women cab drivers when you have matters like this," Ms Moody said in Albury Local Court.
She said Mercieca was "very lucky" he was not also facing "some other sort of charge" for touching the victim in the way he did.
Mercieca, 23, pleaded guilty to a single charge of common assault.
Ms Moody said that while references put before the court painted Mercieca in a generous light, these ignored the fact he had been dealt with by the court before on an alcohol-related charge.
"If this is how you conduct yourself when you drink, don't drink," she said, on placing Mercieca on a 12-month community corrections order and convicting and fining him $500.
Police told the court that the victim began her shift with Albury Taxis on July 23 about 4pm. It was a Friday.
About 2.20am the next day she pulled up to the front of the car park entrance at the SS&A Club.
A few minutes later, a "highly intoxicated" Mercieca "stumbled" into the front passenger seat of the cab and asked to be taken home.
He was slurring his words "and ranting to himself" and his behaviour was making the driver feel "very nervous and uncomfortable".
"Whilst driving north on Waugh Road ... the victim felt the accused's hand on her upper left thigh and lower stomach."
She grabbed his hand and flung it off her and said: "Mate, what do you think you are doing?"
"What?" he replied. "What are talking about?"
She turned into Logan Road and, after the fare was paid, told him to get out.
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