Taxi passenger Mohammed Azhar must pay £1,200 to driver he attacked

A man has been ordered to pay £1,200 compensation to a taxi driver with whom he had a row about a fare.

Mohammed Azhar was already under a suspended sentence for causing grievous bodily harm to his sister when he got into the taxi driven by Mohammed Yahyaei in Huddersfield on June 11.

Joe Culley, prosecuting, told Leeds Crown Court yesterday the fee to his home in Armitage Road, Birkby , was agreed as £3.50 but when they arrived he complained he had not got the correct change from his £5.

He became aggressive and threw money at the driver and then got into the front passenger seat and they were arguing and waving fingers at each other.

Mr Culley said the victim had hold of Azhar’s wrist and when he struggled and pulled it away he caught him on the nose with the side of his head.

“It is accepted as in his basis of plea that it was done recklessly and caused a bleeding and sore nose,” said Mr Cully.

The driver tried to telephone for the police but Azhar snatched his mobile, telling him not to do so. Another vehicle pulled up and the driver went to his assistance and the phone was returned.

The police were called and when Azhar was searched a metal weapon was found in his pocket known as a Kubotan, which he denied was for self-defence but said he used for religious reasons when tying up items of Asian clothing.

Mr Culley said on February 10 last year Azhar was sentenced to 12 months in prison suspended for 18 months for inflicting grievous bodily harm to his sister who suffered a fractured eye socket at their home.

The court heard Azhar told a probation officer he only himself to blame for his latest appearance in court, telling her: “I have a problem with anger.”

Jeremy Barton, representing him, said Azhar had a job as a quilter in a bed factory in Huddersfield and had managed to stay out of trouble until near the end of his suspended sentence.

He said actor Darren Day had been convicted of having a similar Kubotan on a key ring in a court case in Scotland and he too had not intended to use it as a weapon which is what it is considered. The driver had not even known Azhar had it.

He urged the court not to jail Azhar immediately and let him return to his family.

Azhar, 26, admitted assault by beating to Mr Yahyaei, possessing an offensive weapon and breaching the suspended sentence. He was sentenced to a total of eight months in prison suspended for two years, an activity requirement and ordered to pay £1200 compensation.

Recorder Michael Slater said he accepted the recent case was “an impetuous flare-up” and warned another breach would lead to an immediate jail term.