A semi-professional English rugby union player allegedly stole a Perth taxi after he bashed the driver, who had to flee into a passer-by's vehicle.
Ryan Matthew Townsend, 24, was granted bail on strict conditions yesterday, including that he surrender his passport and report to police three times a week.
Mr Townsend was charged in Perth Magistrate's Court yesterday with aggravated robbery over the incident on Sunday and driving with a blood alcohol reading of more than 0.08.
Police allege Mr Townsend was a passenger when he punched the cabbie while they were on the freeway near Padbury about 8pm after an argument about the fare.
The driver pulled over on Whitfords Avenue, but Mr Townsend, a labourer, allegedly continued punching him before he managed to get out of the taxi.
The alleged assault continued outside the taxi until the driver broke free and flagged down a motorist who picked him up.
Police allege Mr Townsend then took the taxi and was arrested a short time later in Craigie.
The driver was treated for cuts to his face and loose teeth.
Taxi Council WA chief executive Olwyn Williams said the incident spooked the driver, who told her the attack only stopped after the motorist helped him. "It is a shocking incident and attacks like this put people off the industry," she said.
"Many drivers will not work at night because of the unpredictability of passengers, particularly when they're affected by alcohol and drugs."
She said the driver claimed the man racially abused him.
The court was told Mr Townsend, who was not required to plead, is in Australia on a 12-month working visa.
Prosecutor Sgt Steve Balcombe did not oppose bail but asked that Mr Townsend, who lives in Padbury, surrender his passport and provide a surety.Magistrate Janelle Scutt told Mr Townsend the allegations were serious, before releasing him on bail with a $5000 surety and a $5000 personal undertaking to appear in Joondalup Magistrate's Court next month.