St Albans Magistrates' Court has upheld the council's decision to revoke the hackney carriage licence of a taxi driver who refused to pick up a wheelchair user.
Majid Hussein Butt, 32, who was working for Gold Line Taxis at the time of the incident, had his hackney carriage driver's licence revoked after his conviction, but appealed against the decision in St Albans Magistrates' Court on Monday 10 June.
Butt, from Luton, was accused of refusing to take a wheelchair user along with another disabled passenger on a journey from St Albans to Harpenden in July 2018.
As reported in the Herts Advertiser, Butt pleaded guilty at a hearing in February and was fined £250, as well as a £250 contribution towards the council's costs and a victim surcharge of £30.
During the appeal hearing, Tim Scarisbrick, representing Butt, argued that his client had apologised for the one-off offence and was genuinely remorseful for what he did. He stressed that at the time of the offence Butt was struggling with back problems which limited his ability to give assistance.
He also claimed that the taxi's ramp was broken.
After hearing the defendant's argument, the magistrates dismissed the case, ruling the council had acted correctly.
Butt was ordered to pay £3,000 towards the costs. After the hearing, Cllr Brian Ellis - chair of the council's licensing and regulatory committee - said: "I'm pleased that this appeal was unsuccessful and the magistrates supported our decision. "Mr Butt was convicted of a serious offence and it was felt that we had no option but to take away his licence under these circumstances. "Licensed taxi drivers using accessible vehicles are now forbidden by the law from discriminating against wheelchair users and it is our job to enforce that. "The vast majority of the district's taxi drivers do an outstanding job and are very helpful to disabled customers. However, this prosecution shows that if we hear of an offence, we will investigate and we will take appropriate action."
Image: Source; Pixabay