Indian-origin cabbie avoids jail

Melbourne: An Indian-origin taxi driver who bashed an 81-year-old woman passenger has avoided prison after a local Australian court sentenced him to nine months jail, wholly suspended, for false imprisonment.

Victorian County Court judge Frank Shelton ordered Bhupinder Singh to serve a six-month intensive corrections order for intentionally causing serious injury after sentencing him to nine months in jail, wholly suspended, for false imprisonment, according to Australian news agency AAP.

25-year-old Singh was accused of punching Zainab Sarwari in the face and pushing her out of his taxi after an argument about her destination on August 14 last year.

Singh picked up Sarwari in Noble Park and was directed to drive her to a Dandenong medical centre, but he took her to Dandenong Hospital instead.

Sarwari screamed "Where are you taking me?" and was pulling at Singh`s clothes and punching his shoulder, a previous court hearing was told.

Taxi data indicates Singh drove around the southeastern suburbs for more than 30 minutes before stopping in Noble Park and assaulting Sarwari.

He then punched the elderly woman in the face several times before pushing her out of the cab.

Singh pleaded guilty to one charge of false imprisonment and one count of intentionally causing serious injury.