Taxi driver fails to get licence back after allegations he drove car at customer in row over fare

Abdul Talukdar
Abdul Talukdar

A SOUTH Tyneside cabbie who had his licence suspended after he was alleged to have driven his car into a man after an early morning row over a fare, has lost his bid to get back on the road.

Licencing bosses at South Tyneside Council suspended Abdul Talukdar’s Hackney carriage licence after viewing CCTV of the incident, at the taxi rank behind McDonalds, in East Smithy Street, in South Shields town centre.

He was using foul language, including about my race.

Mr Talukdar was seen to hit an irate passenger with his cab just seconds after the got out of his vehicle.

The footage was shown in South Tyneside Magistrates’ Court as Mr Talukdar appealed to magistrates to reverse the decision.

The court heard that the man – who has never come forward to police – had jumped in the taxi as Mr Talukdar approached the rank looking for a potential fare.

The footage showed the man angrily slamming shut the passenger door of the car and taking a kick at the vehicle at 4.56am on Sunday, February 1, after being told it was not his pre-booked taxi.

Investigations

Mr Talukdar reversed and drove away, but the wing of the car strikes the man as he leaves the scene.

Mr Talukdar, who gave the court a care-of address of Kingston Solicitors, in Benwell, Newcastle, told the court he believed he may have hit a wheelie bin and had no idea he had struck the man, until he was shown the video by police.

He has not been charged and police investigations into the incident are still ongoing.

Debbie Lloyd, prosecuting for South Tyneside Council, said: “The incident was captured on council CCTV in the early hours of Sunday, February 1.

“It was forwarded to the council’s licensing manager, who considered that Mr Talukdar’s license should be suspended.

“It remains the council’s case that his driving fell well below the standard expected of a taxi driver in South Tyneside.”

Geoffrey Forrester, defending, said that Mr Talukdar is a father-of-three, who has worked as a taxi driver for eight years.

Mr Talukdar told the hearing he had not deliberately hit the man, but was eager to make a quick exit after feeling “unsafe” and “shaken” after being abused by him.

He told the court: “He was using foul language, including about my race.

“I reversed back as I was close to a bollard. I saw him by a wheelie bin. I thought he was going to throw it at the car.

“I was not looking at him, I was making sure the road was clear to leave.”

After police were informed of the incident, Mr Talukdar voluntarily attended the police station and was shown the footage.

He added: “I saw that I hit the person and I was shocked and embarrassed.

“I have been a taxi driver for a long time and have had to deal with abuse, but this incident was different.

“I felt scared, I was shaken.”

Ms Lloyd, questioning Mr Talukdar, said: “I suggest you were angry and you drove at him to scare him.”

Mr Talukdar denied the collision was deliberate, saying: “It looks like that, but I was very afraid. There was no one else there who would have helped me.” Mr Forrester said: “You have to be so careful when looking at a snapshot in time.

“That snapshot does not reflect well, but if you take the full reel, you see that is utterly and totally misleading.

“He is a quietly spoken, reserved man who works every hour god sends.

“Some idiot, who has never come forward, wanted to jump the queue and get in a taxi and wouldn’t take no for an answer.

“When Mr Talukdar has quite properly told him to wait for his taxi, he becomes abusive.”

Mr Forrester said that Mr Talukdar’s wheels had “tilted” in the direction of the man when he reversed, leading him to shoot forward in his direction when he set off.

“There is a glancing connection at most, no injury was caused.

Paul Allen, chairman of the magistrates, dismissed Mr Talukdar’s appeal.

He said; “It’s not an easy decision, but we feel the council has acted rightly and we dismiss your appeal.”

A Northumbria Police spokesman confirmed that investigations into the matter are ongoing, with officers awaiting advice from the Crown Prosecution Service, before a decision is made on whether criminal charges will be brought against Mr Talukdar.

Twitter: @shieldsgazchris