Hire driver fines for picking up fares

PUBLISHED: 12:42 10 January 2008 | UPDATED: 12:45 06 May 2010

Cllr Anthony Rowlands praised the magistrates' decisions

Cllr Anthony Rowlands praised the magistrates' decisions

A PRIVATE hire taxi driver has been successfully prosecuted by St Albans District Council for collecting passengers without bookings. The council took the action against Askar Younis, aged 44, from Luton, after he was found to contravene licensing laws by

A PRIVATE hire taxi driver has been successfully prosecuted by St Albans District Council for collecting passengers without bookings.

The council took the action against Askar Younis, aged 44, from Luton, after he was found to contravene licensing laws by picking up passengers who had not pre-booked, which voids the vehicle's insurance.

The prosecution followed a number of complaints from the hackney carriage trade about private hire drivers like Younis breaking the rules.

Younis pleaded guilty to the offence of plying for hire when he appeared at St Albans Magistrates Court and the bench gave him credit for his early plea.

They imposed a fine of £200 along with an order to pay £200 in costs but they warned him that the maximum fine for such an offence was £2,500.

Following the hearing, the council stressed that they would continue to monitor the situation and prosecute private hire drivers who plied for hire.

Cllr Anthony Rowlands, portfolio holder for community engagement and support, said: "It is only fair on the hackney carriage trade that the council's licensing department are vigilant in deterring private hire operators from breaching licensing regulations by plying for trade."

In another case, the council have also successfully defended their decision to refuse a taxi licence to a man convicted of a serious dishonesty offence.

Shoukat Ali Khan, aged 39, from Luton, had his licence revoked when he was convicted of perverting the course of justice in 2006.

He was unsuccessful in appealing that decision and the latest hearing was the result of another application which was turned down by the council.

The magistrates dismissed the appeal, upholding the council's view that Khan was not a "fit and proper person" to hold a hackney carriage driver's licence.

Senior licensing officer at the district council, Paul Holden, said: "We are very pleased that the court has supported our view that dishonesty is a serious concern for taxi drivers who will be in a one-to-one situation with members of the public."

Cllr Rowlands said: "The applicant has been found guilty of a serious offence. The decision of the court to refuse the applicant's appeal is to be welcomed and sends out the right message that a high degree of honesty is required of hackney carriage drivers by the council.

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