THIRD hackney taxi driver convicted of illegally plying-for-hire at Henley Regatta faces £2,000 bill
A third hackney carriage driver has been convicted of illegally plying for hire at last summer’s Henley Regatta and must now pay £2,000 in fines and costs.
On Friday 27 January, Oxford Magistrates’ Court heard how during the Regatta, officers from South Oxfordshire District Council had spotted yet another vehicle parked on double yellow lines in Henley.
Officers identified Mr Abdul Haye Azad’s vehicle, parked on Thameside, as a hackney carriage licensed by the Royal Borough of Windsor and Maidenhead. Hackney carriage vehicles licensed outside the district are not permitted to pick customers up off the street without a booking through a licensed private hire operator.
When an officer asked Mr Azad if he could take them to Reading Station, Mr Azad replied saying he was available and could do the journey immediately for £45. Afterwards he was approached by officers from South Oxfordshire and the Royal Borough of Windsor and Maidenhead to talk about what he had offered to do, he refused to show his council issued driver’s badge and drove off.
In court, Mr Azad, 55, pleaded guilty to illegally plying for hire, failure to comply with a reasonable request of a council officer by failing to hand over his council issued badge and obstruction of a council officer by deliberately driving off.
The magistrates imposed a fine of £500 for the plying for hire offence and awarded costs to the district council of £1,300 with an additional £200 victim surcharge.
In December and January, Oxford Magistrates’ Court convicted two other drivers illegally plying for hire in Henley during the regatta – one driver had a Buckinghamshire hackney carriage licence and the other with a private hire vehicle licensed by Transport for London.
Cllr Kate Gregory, Cabinet Member for Legal and Democratic at South Oxfordshire District Council, said: “This is the third time we’ve seen a conviction against drivers acting illegally in Henley during the regatta. We take action against any drivers illegally plying for hire because they could be putting people’s safety at risk and it takes trade away from most drivers who are fully licensed and insured.
“We are very grateful to the assistance provided by officers from all the other local authorities that have been involved and attended the regatta with us to check the vehicles and drivers that they license.”
Under what rules was the taxi driver prosecuted?
South Oxfordshire District Council prosecuted Mr Abdul Haye Azad for illegally plying for hire contrary to section 45 of the Town Police Clauses Act 1847. He was also prosecuted for obstruction of a council officer for deliberately driving off and failing to comply with a reasonable request of a council officer for failing to hand over his council issued badge. Both offences are contrary to section 73 of the Local Government (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1976.
In court, the magistrates imposed the following fines on Mr Azad:
Illegally plying for hire – £500
Obstruction of a council officer – no additional fine
Failure to comply with a reasonable request of a council officer – no additional fine.
He was also ordered to pay £1,300 towards the council’s costs and a victim surcharge of £200, totalling £2,000.