A Sandwell private hire driver has been refused a licence renewal after admitting to engaging in inappropriate discussions with two female passengers. In minutes from his hearing with Sandwell Council it was revealed that the unnamed driver had faced previous sexual assault allegations in June 2018, but was found not guilty in court so was granted a private hire driver’s licence with a warning about future conduct.
It was also revealed that in June 2019 the driver had been convicted of using threatening or abusive words or behaviour likely to cause harassment, alarm or distress. Members of the council’s Sub-Licensing Committee heard how the police informed the Taxi Licensing Office that the driver had been arrested for making numerous sexual remarks to two female passengers in his private hire vehicle. The committee heard that the females stated that they were in Birmingham and on their way to catch a train back home to Lichfield, when the driver illegally plied for hire by calling them over and offering them a fare of £35 to their destination. During the journey the driver made indecent and inappropriate comments towards the passengers and he allegedly unplugged a camera inside the vehicle. The passengers asked several times for him to stop and stated that they did nothing to encourage the behaviour. When they exited the vehicle, they took a picture of the licence plate. The driver got out of the vehicle and asked them not to report him. He also knocked the door of the house they were dropped at and begged the mother of one of the passengers not to let her daughter report him as he did not want to lose his licence. The unnamed company which the driver was working for confirmed that the journey was not pre-booked, however the charge of illegally plying for hire was not pursued by the police. The driver disputed that he had plied for hire, stating that he had believed a marshal had booked the journey. The licensing committee took into account all evidence and made the decision that the man could not be considered a fit and proper person to hold a private hire licence anymore.
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