Minicab driver jailed after groping 4 female passengers

A minicab driver who groped four female passengers in three incidents over a four year period has been jailed for 24 months.

Hussain Rahman, who is religious with a ‘deep faith’, abused his position as a cabbie to prey on drunk women as he drove them home in his cab at night.

And on the final occasion the 51-year-old picked on a woman who was not drunk, making obscene, suggestive, comments to her as he stroked her leg.

Rahman, of Lansbury Drive, Upper Stratton, pleaded not guilty to four counts of sexual assault but was convicted by a jury following a trial at Swindon Crown Court.

He first targeted one of his fares after picking up three friends who had been out on the town in November 2012.

The 18-year-old victim, who he had seen being sick, got in the front while her two drunken pals were arguing in the back, leaving them unaware of what he was up to.

Rahman put his hand on her chest, squeezing her breast over her clothing, leaving the teenager traumatised for years.

Just over two years later, in January 2015, he was driving two women home after they had also been drinking heavily, one so much so that she could recall nothing.

The defendant put his hand inside her trousers and touched her friend’s breast under her clothing as the victims were trapped in the cab.

His final victim, who has worked in the past as a carer, was picked up in the early hours of Saturday August 6 last year from a friend’s house.

Soon after pulling away he said ‘You need a man with a big penis’ as he rubbed her thigh close to her groin area.

The woman, who had only had a couple of beers, said she was repeatedly pushing him away and would have told him to stop the car and let her out were it not the early hours of the morning.

Colin Meeke, prosecuting, said all four of the women had suffered as a result of the ordeals they had been put through.

Referring to their victim personal statements he said one told how she could not use public transport, let alone minicabs, as a result of her ordeal.

Another said she had been a victim of a sex attack in the past and feared he was going to be taken away and raped.

A third spoke of how she was horrified to have been accused by him of being racist and damaging his car, when in reality she was the victim.

James Tucker, defending, said that his client had been regarded as a low risk of reoffending and would never be able to work as a minicab driver again.

Although the case passed the custody threshold he urged any jail term to be suspended saying he has diabetes and had done a good job raising his family.

Jailing him for two years Judge Robert Pawson said “You are now 51 years old. You are a religious man with a strong faith.

“Over the course of four years or so when you were working as a mini cab driver you used your position and the vulnerability of drunk women out late at night to sexually assault them.

“You as a minicab driver driving members of the public around at night are in a relationship, an ad hoc relationship it may be, of trust to your fares whether there is one of them, two of them or three of them: but particularly when one.

“I have considered you case very, very, carefully but it seems to me given all the circumstances it would be quite wrong of me to suspend the sentence.”

As a result of the two year jail term he will have to register as a sex offender for the next 10 years.

Source: Swindon Advertiser

High Court rejects appeal by taxi driver over council livery policy

A High Court judge has rejected a taxi driver’s appeal over Guildford Borough Council’s livery policy, it has been reported.

The local authority said the driver had claimed in a previous hearing in November 2016 at Guildford Crown Court that the livery policy amounted to a licence condition and should be removed from his licence.

The judge dismissed that appeal, finding that the reasons for the livery, such as protecting public safety, were sound and reasonable.

The taxi driver then took his appeal to the High Court.

The High Court has now dismissed the appeal, deciding that it was reasonable to attach conditions on licences which relate to council policy.

The court awarded Guildford an additional £2,000 in costs. The appellant now owes the council £11,000 in costs for this and other appeal cases, the local authority said.

​Cllr Graham Ellwood, Lead Councillor for Licensing and Community Safety at Guildford, said: “I’m delighted with the ruling made by the High Court. My hope now is that this judgement brings to an end the legal challenges that have diverted the Council from other important work to help taxi drivers. This has caused delays in implementing a policy that is aimed at raising standards and protecting the travelling public.”

The policy change was previously challenged at Redhill Magistrates Court in July 2016 and at Guildford Crown Court in November 2016. At each stage costs have been awarded to the council.

​​​Cllr Ellwood added: “Guildford will now have a fleet of easily identifiable, liveried taxis from 1 January 2018. I would like to remind drivers that they need to make arrangements to livery their taxis as soon as possible to ensure they are not off the road after this deadline.”

Flint taxi driver convicted of rape fled ‘to Syria’

Sultan Amari
Sultan Amari

A Flintshire taxi driver sentenced to 11 years in jail after raping a student twice following a night out has fled the country, a court has heard.

Syrian-born Sultan Amari, 46, from Flint, was due to return to the trial on Monday but sent an email saying he had no intention of returning.
He boarded a flight to Istanbul on Sunday and it is understood he could be headed for Syria.

He was convicted in his absence at Warrington Crown Court.

The last time the father-of-one attended the court was on Friday when he was giving evidence.

A warrant has been issued for Amari’s arrest and police enquiries to trace his whereabouts are ongoing.

During the trial he claimed sex with his victim had been consensual after he had picked her up and had taken her to a house he owned in Chester in July last year.

When it became apparent Amari was not going to turn up at court, the judge Tina Landale told the jury: “All I can say to you is he is not here and we are going to continue with the trial.”

She ordered an investigation into how Amari managed to breach his bail conditions and leave the country.

‘Vulnerable woman’

The court had heard how his victim could not recall anything that happened in between leaving a bar in Chester and waking up naked and alone in an unfamiliar house where he raped her twice over a period of about eight hours.

But she later had a flashback that she was lying face-down on a mattress, unable to move her arms or open her eyes, with a man having intercourse with her.

Amari was given 11 years for each count of rape to be served concurrently.

Judge Landale said: “This was a gross breach of trust with a very vulnerable woman.

“CCTV showed that she was totally incapable of walking in a straight line and she was obviously drunk.

“The public are entitled to be protected by people like Mr Amari but instead he exploited and took advantage of her.”

The victim said her relationship with her mother has suffered, as she feels she cannot be as open about her feelings for fear of upsetting her, and she feels she will never be able to get in a taxi again.


Minicab Driver caught speeding and jumping red lights at Gatwick claimed non-existent man was at fault

A minicab driver who lied about speeding and driving through red lights repeatedly near Gatwick Airport over six years by claiming it was a man supposedly living in Cyprus who was at fault, has escaped jail.

Erkan Mustafa committed driving offences around Gatwick on several occasions between 2009 and 2015.

At the time he was running a private hire and chauffeur business called Merc Transfers.

On each occasion, Mustafa falsely nominated a man who supposedly lived in Cyprus as the driver but when police investigated they could find no evidence of this man ever existing.

Mustafa was subsequently charged with committing a series of acts with intent to pervert the course of justice.

The 62-year-old, of Wolverton Gardens, in Horley, Surrey, pleaded guilty at Lewes Crown Court on July 8 and was sentenced to 35 weeks in prison, suspended for two years.

He was also ordered to carry out 200 hours of unpaid work and pay £670 costs.

Sussex Police have only published the results of the investigation and court case this week.

As a result of Mustafa’s conviction, police are urging all licensed drivers in the county to be honest about camera offences to avoid a criminal record.

In the majority of cases, motorists caught by safety cameras are eligible for either a National Speed Awareness Course or national What’s Driving Us course – currently four hours long at a cost of £85 in Sussex.

Those not eligible or who choose not to attend a course end up either with a fixed penalty of £100 and three penalty points or going to magistrates’ court.

Paul Gray, of the Sussex Police Central Ticket Summons Unit (CTSU), said: “The level of information involved in incidents of perverting the course of justice can vary greatly from slight to in-depth, but in all cases is premeditated; Sussex Police has no desire to prosecute people who make genuine mistakes.

“However, drivers should be mindful that we will investigate these offences and prosecute where necessary. If you are prepared to lie to us, then prepare to be caught out and face the consequences.”


Egyptian Tony loses appeal in Crown Court

Court hears litany of complaints in ‘truly hopeless appeal’

A LONG-serving taxi driver has been exposed as a ‘lying cheat’ who swindled or stole from his customers and drove dangerously.

Well-known Newbury driver Mohamed Khaled was branded “unscrupulous, devious and dishonest” at Reading Crown Court.

In refusing Mr Khaled’s “truly hopeless appeal” against refusal of a new licence, Judge Stephen John gave a damning assessment of the 46-year-old’s character before telling him: “You have sought to deceive us. You haven’t succeeded.”

Judge John added: “The only thing that surprised us about [West Berkshire Council’s] approach, bearing in mind the litany of complaints, is that they didn’t take action to revoke your licence years before.”

In seeking to explain away more than 30 complaints from customers, police officers and colleagues, the court heard, Mr Khaled invented a conspiracy in which he sought to smear Pc Pete Sutherland and fellow taxi driver Bill Annetts.

The judge dismissed Mr Khaled’s claims as “malicious and gratuitous”.

During the day-long hearing, Stuart Jessop, for the council, outlined some of the complaints lodged against Mr Khaled over 12 years, including:

  • Possession of the drug ketamine.
  • Multiple incidents of dangerous driving.
  • Assaulting a woman passenger.
  • Abusive and threatening behaviour.
  • Stealing.
  • Fiddling the meter.

Mr Jessop said: “I’m not going to outline them all.”

Instead he focused on one incident in Newbury town centre in which Mr Khaled – “who has several aliases and whose street name is Egyptian Tony” – intervened in an arrest.

Several police officers described how, as they struggled to arrest violent, drunken suspects in Market Place on a Saturday night, Mr Khaled leaped from his cab, swore at the officers and tried to free the offenders.

Officers said they repeatedly had to push Mr Khaled away as they tried to contain the ugly situation.

Others spoke of witnessing him illegally touting for business from passers by or talking on his mobile phone while driving at speed through the busy Market Place.

Mr Jessop said Mr Khaled thought he was above the law, allowed passengers to smoke in his vehicle and repeatedly failed to display his licence and badge.

On other occasions, the court heard, he deliberately cheated customers, assaulted a woman and stole from unsuspecting passengers.

Mr Jessop concluded: “There is an abundance of evidence that he is not a fit and proper person to hold a licence… he put public safety at risk with a flagrant disregard for rules and regulations.

“He has shown total disrespect for authority and makes wild and malicious accusations that are without foundation.

“If anything the local authority has been exceedingly lenient with him.”

Eventually, the court heard, his taxi licence was revoked by West Berkshire Council but in July 2015 he reapplied.

His request was refused and, when he appealed the decision to Reading magistrates in January, they upheld the refusal.

Mr Khaled then appealed to the crown court.

From the witness stand on Friday, he portrayed himself as the innocent victim of a conspiracy masterminded by Newbury officer Pc Sutherland.

He claimed it stemmed from occasions when the officer was drunk and had been refused a ride by Mr Khaled.

In addition, he claimed fellow taxi driver Mr Annetts was a co-conspirator who had removed his licence display then photographed the empty space before passing the supposedly fabricated evidence to the council.

Members of the public who complained were either lying or mistaken, claimed Mr Khaled.

In refusing the appeal, Judge John described Mr Khaled’s behaviour as “hugely reprehensible” and said that, as a witness he had been “evasive, argumentative, unco-operative and belligerent”, adding “and that chimes with the way he has been shown to behave towards others”.

Ordering Mr Khaled to pay a total of £6,770 costs for both failed appeals, Judge John said the slurs on Pc Sutherland and Mr Annetts had been “gratuitous… indefensible,” adding: “This was a truly hopeless appeal. There never was any basis for it. It is wholly without merit and it is therefore dismissed.”

Finally, Mr Khaled was ordered to pay the £6,770 combined costs of both appeal hearings.


Taxi Driver Loses Appeal Case Relating to New Livery

Magistrates have dismissed a taxi driver’s appeal claiming that the Guildford Borough Council’s taxi livery policy amounted to a condition and should be removed from his licence.

At the appeal, held at Redhill Magistrates Court on 5 July, Magistrates found that the reasons for imposing the livery were sound and reasonable, and there was no reason to remove the condition. They also awarded the majority of the council’s costs in defending the appeal, to the amount of £4,500.

Cllr Graham Ellwood, Lead Councillor for Licensing and Community Safety, said: “This case was not a challenge to our overall livery policy and its requirements remain in place for all taxi drivers in our borough. However, I am delighted with the outcome, as the Magistrates have agreed that the reasons for the livery, such as protecting public safety, are sound and reasonable.

“We are now keen to move on from dealing with challenges to the policy and continue with implementing its measures such as the livery and a professional BTEC qualification for all drivers to raise standards and protect the travelling public. I am now looking forward to a liveried fleet of Guildford taxis in the near future.

“I would like to remind drivers that the council will only contribute towards the cost of livery until the 9 July, so drivers should not delay in booking their vehicle in to be liveried.

“We are very keen to engage in discussing practical issues around implementing the policy and I would encourage all members of the taxi and private hire trade to come along to the next Taxi Advisory Group meeting on 20 July at 7pm.”

Mark Rostron speaking on behalf of the Guildford Hackney Association said: “It’s a very disappointing result from the magistrates. They apparently believe that it was necessary for the security of the travelling public that Guildford taxis have to be teal green, and that no other solution would be reasonable.

“Obviously Guildford Hackney Association continue to disagree and we are awaiting the barristers report before we decide on whether to appeal the decision in the Crown Court.

“Additionally, Guildford Borough Council hired a Queen’s Counsel barrister at tremendous cost and persuaded the magistrates that they should charge the taxi driver £6,000 in costs, even though the Magistrates Association and the Justices’ Clerks Society have advised that awarding costs for a licensing appeal should be an exception, not a rule, and that any resident with reasonable grounds for appeal should not be penalised.

“I hope the Guildford public take note of this behavior by the council who seek to enforce a licence livery condition that was not asked for by a single person in their consultation but was instead dropped into the policy at the last minute by a small group of misguided councillors.