THE owner of a Private Hire firm has been banned from driving schoolchildren after he sexually touched a teenage girl.
Sadiq Choudhry, who runs 24 7 Private Hire, in Swadlincote, was convicted by a jury of four offences of sexual activity with a child.
Choudhry has now been sentenced to a three-year community order and banned from working with children.
A judge at Derby Crown Court said this meant Choudhry, 45, would not be able to transport schoolchildren or young people in his private hire vehicle.
Judge Hilary Watson said Choudhry had preyed on the 15-year-old girl’s vulnerability and called his behaviour “reprehensible”.
She said: “I find your behaviour to be persistent. You ignored clear verbal warnings from her about your intentions but you persisted.
“Your sexual gratification was uppermost in your mind when you preyed on her vulnerability.
“You touched her body in a way that was wholly inappropriate.”
Judge Watson added: “Because of your denial of the offences, she had to go through the account of what happened.
“She had to answer questions from your barrister, who called her a liar.”
Judge Watson said she had decided to pass a community order because if she sent Choudhry to prison the sentence would not be long enough for him to undertake the appropriate rehabilitation programmes.
She ordered that Choudhry, of Broadway Street, Burton, should attend a sex offenders’ group programme.
She also said he should pay £1,240 towards the court’s costs.
He must sign the sex offenders’ register and abide by a sexual offences prevention order for five years.
This includes not going within 50 metres of an educational establishment unless passing in his work, or dropping off or picking up his own children from school.
He must also not be in the company of or seek the company of a child under the age of 16, apart from a blood relative.
Graham Blower, in mitigation, handed newspaper cuttings to the judge about Choudhry’s work in the community.
Mr Blower said: “By and large he is a pillar of the community.
“He has been a parish councillor over the years.”
He said that Choudhry had organised a large fund-raising effort in his community to help victims of the Pakistan earthquake in 2009.
Judge Watson said that references and newspaper cuttings showed “another side” to Choudhry.
She said: “They show a pillar of the local community and one who would put himself out for people.
“And it would appear that it is just this area in which you need considerable help.”