A 64 year-old man has had his taxi driver’s licence revoked and been ordered to pay £250 court costs, after using his mobile phone to access pornography at the wheel of his cab.
Manchester City Council’s decision to revoke Mohammad Deinali’s hackney carriage licence was upheld at a Manchester Magistrates Court appeal hearing.
In February 2018, a man contacted Greater Manchester Police to report a incident which happened after he was picked up in a hackney carriage at Manchester Airport. The passenger, who was accompanied by his ten year-old daughter during the journey, suspected that the driver was watching content on a mobile device throughout the trip and was clearly able to hear ‘sounds of people engaging in sexual activity’ coming from a device within the driver’s compartment.
The passenger reported to investigating officers that at one point during the journey, the taxi almost collided with another vehicle, which he felt was due to the driver being distracted by his mobile device. The passenger also reported that the driver only switched his device off as the taxi approached their final destination, in Altrincham.
With the passenger’s consent, the matter was referred to Manchester City Council for investigation. The driver involved was identified as Deinali and he was subsequently questioned by council officers.
Deinali’s mobile phone was inspected and the device’s web browser history revealed that a significant quantity of pornographic websites had been accessed on the day of the journey. This evidence supported the allegation made and consequently, the council suspended Deinali’s licence with immediate effect, on public safety grounds.
In April 2018, the case was referred to the council’s Licensing and Appeals sub-committee and at that hearing, Deinali’s hackney carriage driver licence was formally revoked.
Throughout the investigation, Deinali, of Rawpool Gardens, Wythenshawe, denied that he had been accessing pornographic websites. However, he accepted that the phone belonged to him and admitted that he used it to access other, non-pornographic films.
At the appeal hearing on Monday 20 August, the council’s original decision was upheld. The presiding District Judge told the court that the presence of a ten-year old girl in the taxi had been an aggravating feature of the case.
Executive Member for Neighbourhoods, Councillor Rabnawaz Akbar, said: “It’s a great relief to know that Deinali will no longer be able to drive a taxi in Manchester, as it’s clear that he is utterly unfit to do so. I’d like to thank our officers for making sure that this shocking incident was investigated thoroughly and that Deinali’s licence was quite rightly revoked.
“I’d urge passengers to report any concerns about taxi drivers’ conduct to us, as we can and will take action when the high standards we demand are not met.”