News release from 24/06/2021

Taxi driver loses second court appeal and licence

Taxi driver loses second court appeal and licence

A private hire taxi driver has lost his licence for picking up passengers who were not pre-booked – and South Cambridgeshire District Council is warning against others repeating his mistake.

Back in April 2019, 41-year-old Alinur Miah from Atkins Close in Cambridge picked-up a passenger in the city’s Market Square and drove them to Godmanchester, despite them not having a booking. Mr Miah’s private hire licence means he is not allowed to pick-up anyone who doesn’t have a booking. Private hire drivers who do so are not insured can mean no record of the journey with their operator – which would be important in case of any dispute. This action led to the Council revoking his licence.

In April this year, Mr Miah lost an appeal at Cambridge Magistrate’s Court against the Council’s decision to revoke his licence. The time that had passed between the pick-up and the appeal hearing was due to a backlog in the courts caused by Coronavirus.

During an interview with the Council’s Licensing Enforcement Officer, Mr Miah had claimed he was only doing a favour for a friend and did not charge for the journey last year. However, following evidence from a witness, number plate recognition cameras and assistance from the driver’s operator, the licence was revoked by the Council.

A second appeal took place at Peterborough Crown Court on Tuesday 22 June this year. During the hearing Mr Miah and his Barrister stated that since the event there had been no further incidents or complaints and he had continued to behave responsibly. They asked the court to consider a suspension of the licence rather than a revocation, but the court’s opinion was that they would not want a loved one being driven in an uninsured taxi by Mr Miah.

In determining the appeal, the Judge had concerns with Mr Miah’s account, specifically how it changed during the course of the interview to accommodate the automatic number plate recognition evidence as it was presented. Given Mr Miah switched off his operator’s computer system, his movements would have been unmonitored.

The court ruled that Mr Miah was not a fit and proper person to hold a private hire licence and upheld the decisions from the Council and the previous appeal hearing. Mr Miah was also ordered to pay the Council’s full legal costs of £2,000. Considering the costs awarded to the Council from the previous Magistrate’s hearing, the full costs now payable by Mr Miah to the Council total £2,858.

South Cambridgeshire District Council’s Lead Cabinet Member for Environmental Services and Licensing, Cllr Brian Milnes, said: “Taxis – specifically private hire vehicles – play a vital role in helping people to get around in a rural area such as South Cambridgeshire. Most of them are excellent drivers who are careful to follow the rules – but this case shows we will not hesitate to act when those rules are broken. Private hire drivers must only pick-up passengers with a booking; this is very, very clear and has been for a long time. In this case, we have a driver who picked-up a passenger who did not have a booking, so their insurance did not cover the journey. Our residents would quite rightly expect us to take action against this serious breach, so I am hopeful that talking about this case is a deterrent against anyone else making the same mistake.”