Taxi driver who intimidated council officer loses hackney carriage licence

12 April 2016

A Newark taxi driver whose aggressive behaviour left a licensing enforcement officer feeling intimidated and fearful had his hackney carriage licence revoked by Newark and Sherwood District Council – a ruling now upheld on appeal at Nottingham Magistrates’ Court.

The decision to cancel the licence of Danny King, of Birch Road, Balderton, was initially taken by the council’s general purposes sub-committee after a hearing in which Mr King (53) was accused of obstruction, harassment and intimidation of the council’s officer as well as failing to comply with the council’s taxi licensing policy.

Mr King appealed the sub-committee’s conclusion but Nottingham Magistrates' Court upheld the council’s decision and awarded the council costs of £886.

The incident that led to the licence being revoked occurred in August 2015 when the officer was performing a routine inspection of taxis parked in Lincoln Street, outside Newark North Gate station.

She carried out an inspection and noted that the rear plate identifying the vehicle as a licensed hackney carriage was missing. Mr King declined to hand her his hackney carriage badge and accused the inspector of being racist.

The inspector stated that she then checked the tyres and found the rear tyres to be below the council requirement of 2mm tread depth. She also noted that Mr King’s taxi was not displaying the required No Smoking signs. Mr King then refused to open the boot so that she could check whether he had a suitable spare tyre, a first aid kit, a fire extinguisher and a warning triangle. 

When the inspector went to leave, Mr King stood in the way of her car door so that she could not initially open it and used his leg to prevent her from closing the door.

The officer explained to the court that she had been present at a previous incident in April 2015 where Mr King had shown aggressive behaviour towards another licensing enforcement officer when his car was being inspected.

In court Mr King denied the allegations against him in their entirety but the magistrates found his evidence inconsistent and they upheld the district council’s decision that Mr King was not a fit and proper person to hold a hackney carriage and private hire licence.

The magistrates’ court hearing took place on Thursday, April 7.

Mr Alan Batty, business manager for environmental health at Newark and Sherwood District Council said: "This case sends an important message to the taxi community that the council is expecting a good standard of conduct from taxi drivers. We will not tolerate bad behaviour or harassment of our inspectors as they carry out the job that they are employed to do, safeguarding the public and ensuring that they can trust in local licensed taxi drivers and their vehicles.

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