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Bristol taxi driver's licence bid refused after passenger head injury

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Taxi signImage source, PA Media
Image caption,
The passenger was injured when his wheelchair tipped backwards during a journey

A taxi driver who lost his licence after a disabled passenger suffered a head injury has lost his latest bid to regain it, council papers say.

Jalil Mohammad had his hackney carriage driver's licence revoked by Bristol City Council in 2019 when he refused to secure the passenger's wheelchair and it tipped over causing a head injury.

Mr Mohammad said he was being punished for a "minor mistake".

But councillors refused a new bid due to several incidents from 2002 to 2019.

Bristol City Council public safety and protection sub-committee refused Mr Mohammad's latest application, made in April, after a failed bid two months earlier, according to recently published minutes of the private hearing.

The minutes said the panel was not satisfied he was a fit and proper person to hold a licence because of a series of complaints and allegations, according to the Local Democracy Reporting Service.

These included allegations of dangerous driving and overcharging in 2002 for which he lost his licence; receiving two police cautions that caused him to again lose his licence in 2013; and an allegation about his behaviour in 2004, which resulted in applications to re-gain his licence being refused and court appeals dismissed, the panel heard.

'Refused to secure wheelchair'

In 2018, having regained his licence, Mr Mohammad was accused of using his mobile phone while driving with a passenger in the car and "also driving into a barrier". This was investigated by police but "due to errors and prosecution deadlines not being met the matter was discontinued with no further action", the minutes said.

The following year, Mr Mohammad had "refused to secure the wheelchair" used by disabled pensioner Barry Sowden before a trip from Temple Meads station, which led to Mr Sowden toppling backwards in it and hitting his head, the panel heard.

The 76-year-old passenger, who has since died of unrelated causes, had undergone brain surgery seven months earlier and was on special medication, so was taken to hospital for a CT scan.

Three character witnesses vouched for the driver at the latest hearing at City Hall on 19 April, including a Bristol Temple Meads station supervisor, mosque chairman and boss of a funeral firm.

Mr Mohammad told the panel the medical statement about the wheelchair accident showed it was a "minor issue" and that the sub-committee had been "misled" over its seriousness, the minutes said.

He said he had committed some offences in his early days but had paid the price for these.

The council papers say the panel found that "this demonstrates that the severity of the matter is not understood".

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