A taxi passenger who refused to pay a fare of £5.70 before hurling racist abuse at the driver and leaving the cab, has been slammed by a judge who has ordered him to pay a total of £190.70.
The Oxford Mail first reported that Samuel Craig Cooper was also made subject to a community order for the racist abuse charge of the driver, which occurred on 4 April.
At Oxford Magistrates' Court on 19 March, the 28-year-old, of Witney, was sentenced for the acts – which the court found to be ‘racially aggravated’.
As a result, Cooper must take part in a ‘thinking skills’ programme for 30 days and attend appointments with a court officer for 25 days.
He must also pay £100 in compensation to the man and £85 in court costs.
Taxi bilking is an offence which sadly occurs far too often for our liking. Unfortunately when a driver has fallen victim to such an incident, the police and other local authorities are usually too busy to make such incidents a priority.
This can lead to further loss of earnings awaiting their attendance. If police can attend, incidents over owed monies is routinely considered a civil affair despite fare theft being a criminal offence.
In fact, the circumstances of the situation can define fare theft or bilking a taxi as one of two separate criminal offences;
The passenger runs off without paying, this is considered theft under Section 3 of the Theft Act 1978 – Making off without payment.
The person knowingly takes a journey in a taxi without having the funds to pay but does not notify the driver until arrival at the intended destination. This is also an offence under Section 11 of the Fraud Act 2006 – Obtaining Services Dishonestly. Similarly, if the passenger outright refuses to pay at the intended destination, this is also considered an offence under Section 11 of the Fraud Act.
When a bilking offence occurs, you as a taxi driver have a right to both press charges and/or bring a civil claim. However this can be a lot of hassle having to identify the culprit and then spend time bringing a claim and pursing the debt.
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