A private hire driver who incorrectly installed ramps to his vehicle to transport a severely disabled man – resulting in him twice almost falling out of his wheelchair - has been found guilty of failing to exercise proper care toward a disabled passenger.
Driver Sajid Mohmood, aged 54, denied the offence but was found guilty at Dudley Magistrates Court on 13 June.
The court heard from the passenger, who has cerebral palsy and communicates using a computer, about the day in October 2018 when he was travelling from his home in Perry Barr to Birmingham City Centre in Mohmood’s private hire vehicle with his carer.
The passenger explained how Mohmood had failed to secure the disabled ramps to his vehicle properly and how he almost fell out of his wheelchair because the ramp was not correctly fitted to the vehicle.
The court heard that both the passenger and the carer were concerned that Mohmod was late and that he struggled to fit the ramps to the vehicle to help the passenger into the car.
When they arrived at New Street Station, the driver was said to have attempted to fit the ramps to the wrong side of the vehicle and the disabled passenger’s carer had to intervene.
The court heard that the driver initially attempted to push the wheelchair forwards down the ramp, which could have resulted in the man falling from his chair.
When Mohmood tried to move the man’s wheelchair again, it toppled sideways due to the ramps not being correctly affixed.
The court heard that the man’s carer had to “physically catch” the passenger to stop him falling from his chair and off the ramp.
Mohmood was charged under Section 165 4d of the Equality Act 2010 - failing to exercise proper care toward a disabled passenger.
The driver, who had received training on the correct handling of wheelchairs, was prosecuted by Sandwell Council’s taxi and private hire licensing and legal teams.
He will be referred to the taxi licensing committee as his actions have fallen below that expected of a Sandwell Council-licensed driver.
Mohmood, of New Oscott, was given a conditional discharge for 12 months, ordered to pay costs of £1,002 in full, £20 victim surcharge and £200 compensation to the victim.
Sandwell Council’s cabinet member responsible for taxi and private hire licensing, Councillor Farut Shaeen said: “The passenger and his family have thanked the council enforcement team for taking on this case and for supporting them throughout it.
“The complainant felt that if their carer had not intervened or, worse still, had the carer not been there, he could have been seriously injured or even killed.
“He and his family were not motivated by compensation but felt strongly that the issue should be highlighted.
“Taxi drivers have a duty to know how to properly look after their disabled passengers and we’re proud to have stood up for this gentleman, who was not treated with the respect and care he deserved.”
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