Lawyers claim Gloucester taxi driver made half a million pounds from his drug dealing

A judge has ordered he pay back £353,800 – or spend an extra 30months in jail

A Gloucester taxi driver serving a long jail term for dealing in cocaine must hand over more than a quarter of a million pounds of his ill gotten gains – or spend an extra two and a half years in prison, a judge ruled today.

At Gloucester crown court Judge Michael Cullum ruled 39-year-old Trishul Rambaran’s criminal benefit from drug dealing was £353,800.

The judge declared Rambaran, of Tuffley Lane, Gloucester, has total assets of £260,762-22 which can be confiscated from him under the Proceeds of Crime Act.

He ordered that the money is paid within six months or Rambaran will have to serve a further 30 months imprisonment in default.

Rambaran, who received a total sentence of 6yrs 4 months last December after he admitted four offences of drug supply and two of money laundering, argued against the confiscation order and maintained it should not be so high.

He told the court he was a ‘respectable man’ and ‘not a bad man.’

And he asked for more time to get legal advice and prepare his argument against the order.

But the judge said he had already had more than enough time and had failed throughout the procedure to comply with court directions.

“There has been a continued lack of obedience to any court order and there has been nothing supplied by the defendant,” said the judge.

Throughout the confiscation hearing yesterday and today the judge had to tell Rambaran repeatedly not to keep interrupting the proceedings.

At one point yesterday, when Rambaran appeared via video link from prison, the judge silenced his microphone so he could not be heard.

Today Rambaran was in court in person and at one point the judge warned him he would send him down to the cells if he did not stop intervening.

The prosecution suggested Rambaran’s criminal benefit was £499,000 but the judge reduced that figure to £353,800.

Prosecutor Edward Hetherington said the assets comprised Rambaran’s house, a share of his late mother’s estate, a VW vehicle and small amounts of money in four bank accounts.

At last year’s sentencing hearing the court was told that Rambaran, who ran a website selling ‘legal highs’ was also selling cocaine which he mixed in with other drugs.

He pleaded guilty to four offences of possessing drugs with intent to supply on 17th March last year and two of money laundering between April 2010 and April 2016.

One of the money laundering charges concerned him using criminally obtained cash to buy his house in Tuffley Lane. The other stated that he had acquired more than £200,000 knowing it was criminal property.

Prosecutor Ed Hetherington said police uncovered Rambaran’s activities when officers on patrol on 17th March saw him driving a VW in Tuffley Avenue and followed him to the Tesco store in Bristol road.

There, he was seen to walk over to a Vauxhall Astra and then back to his car. He was stopped and searched and told the officers he sold legal highs.

Some white powder found in his car was later analysed and found to contain Class B and C illegal drugs.

A search was then carried out at his home and 717 grams of cocaine at 5percent purity and another 57g at just 1 percent was found.

source: http://www.gloucestershirelive.co.uk/

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

Drugs, cherry picking and driving without insurance – hundreds snared in taxi driver crackdown

Hundreds of taxi and private hire drivers have been snared for offences including drugs, driving without insurance and “cherry picking” passengers.

A major clampdown by Liverpool City Council has seen scores of cautions and defect notices handed to private hire and hackney drivers in a bid to improve standards

Two drivers have been taken off the road altogether for drug offences.

The action follows an ECHO investigation earlier this year which exposed a huge range of offences being committed by drivers in the city centre.

We went out with hackney drivers and private hire drivers and found issues relating to both sides of the trade.

Working with Merseyside Police, council officers have identified hundreds of drivers from Liverpool, Sefton, Knowsley and Wirral who were committing a wide range of offences while working in the city.

The most serious cases have seen two drivers – one private hire and one hackney – having their licences revoked for drug related offences.

At Liverpool Magistrates Court this week, 14 drivers were fined a total of £4,655 – for offences including tyre defects, trying to pick up passengers who had not booked and driving without insurance.

In addition, 118 vehicle defect notices and 57 cautions have been issued for offences such as cherry picking – where cab drivers opt not to pick people up despite having an empty vehicle and their light on – as well as having an illegal tyres and not having their plates firmly fixed on – while a further seven vehicles were ordered off the road immediately.

And 160 fixed penalty notices have been issued to the drivers of private cars who parked illegally on taxi stands, taking up space meant for hackneys.

Councillor Christine Banks, chair of the council’s licensing committee, said: “We want to make sure that our taxi industry is fair, and we are determined to crack down on those drivers who are flouting the rules.

“Our aim is to make the playing field for all drivers as level as it can be.

“Unfortunately, there are a very small minority who breach regulations, and we are committed to taking action and in doing so, send a clear message out that it is not acceptable.

source: http://www.liverpoolecho.co.uk/

Sandwell private hire drivers could strike

Hundreds of private hire workers attended a crunch meeting last night called over grievances about Sandwell Council’s taxi policies.

Private hire representatives feel workers are charged too much for licences and are made to undergo more stringent tests than in other areas

They have also complained that it costs more in the borough to get a licence than other places, such as Wolverhampton, while there is only one specialist garage for cars to be checked, which they say means they are often waiting weeks for their cars to be confirmed as road ready.

Mohammad Namiz, who represents private hire drivers in Sandwell, said he believed policy differences between boroughs mean drivers will go elsewhere to get their licence but will still end up driving in Sandwell.

He also said tests have been made harder and that people who are not fluent in English may be stopped from becoming a driver. A three-year licence application in Sandwell costs £352 and when medical costs are added, some drivers feel the amount is too high.

Mr Namiz said: “If you want to become a taxi driver in Sandwell you could be waiting up to a year. In other boroughs you can get a licence within weeks. Before there were 15 questions but they have put it up to 50 and you have to get 45 right. They are not reducing prices, they are not giving us more garages – they are putting the prices up.”

Angry drivers met in Smethwick last night to discuss their next step and have insisted the situation must change. Mr Namiz, from Oldbury, believes council bosses have not listened to their arguments and suggested drivers could strike if changes are not made.

He said: “What’s stopping us going to Wolverhampton and paying less to get a plate? There is no communication with the drivers. They are all fed up. I am not recommending anything at the moment but they are not going to be treated like this.”

Councillor Elaine Costigan, cabinet member for health and protection at Sandwell Council, said: “The council is working to streamline our processes and improve efficiency by allowing applicants to apply online. This will speed up the process and hopefully reduce costs. Its hoped that this service will go live early in 2018.

“We are able to process a vehicle application and issue a licence within two hours if the vehicle passes the test and all other requirements are met. No other authority locally can provide this service. We have one garage at the council’s transport depot that does all the vehicle testing for the authority, but drivers are able to get their vehicle repaired elsewhere.”

source: https://www.expressandstar.com

Horley taxi driver loses licence after making sexually suggestive comments to a lone female passenger

Reigate and Banstead Borough Council’s decision to revoke Shahid Tafader’s taxi licence was upheld by a court

A taxi driver has lost his licence to operate in Reigate and Banstead after making sexually suggestive comments towards a lone female passenger.

Shahid Tafader had his taxi licence revoked by the borough council and, at a subsequent hearing at Guildford Crown Court on Friday (October 27), the decision was upheld by the court.

Mr Shahid Tafader’s licence was revoked in November 2016 following the allegation and the council later rejected an appeal against the decision.

After failing to get that decision overturned at Friday’s court hearing, he was ordered to pay costs of £4,500.

Tafader of Hyperion Walk, Horley, was already facing a bill of £700 in court costs after first taking the case to Redhill Magistrates’ Court before it closed down.

Reigate and Banstead Borough Council’s Executive Member for Community Safety and Enforcement, Graham Knight, said: “We expect taxi drivers licensed by Reigate and Banstead Borough Council to meet high standards of behaviour.

“Mr Tafader’s behaviour fell far short of those standards so revoking his licence was the right thing to do.

“We are extremely pleased that the courts endorsed our decision at each stage. Passengers should feel confident that they are safe in taxis licensed by this council.”

source: http://www.getsurrey.co.uk/

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.”

Uber deserved to lose its licence – Londoners’ safety must come first

Our city is a hotbed of innovation and entrepreneurship. That’s because it’s renowned as a place where everyone has to play by the same rules

From the steam engine to the web, Britain has a long history of inventing and embracing brilliant new technology, often with London leading the way with the very latest developments.

In recent years, we have seen great leaps forward in areas such as green technology, medical innovations and contactless payments on the underground, but also with mobile phone applications that can make the lives of Londoners easier – whether it’s ordering food, renting a flat or doing financial transactions.

As we move through the next stage of 21st century innovation, I want London to continue to be at the forefront of these developments and to be a natural home for exciting new companies that help Londoners by providing a better and more affordable service.

I welcome and embrace these innovations – not only because they can improve the everyday lives of Londoners, but because they can spark new ideas for business, new possibilities for jobs in our city and new opportunities to cement London as a global capital of digital technology.

However, as with every other sector doing business in this city, from the financial services to manufacturing, all companies in London must play by the rules and adhere to the high standards we expect – above all when it comes to the safety of customers.

Providing an innovative service is not an excuse for it being unsafe.

Today, Transport for London has made the formal decision not to renew Uber’s operating licence. This was made independently by TfL as the regulator. I know this decision will be controversial in some quarters. Uber has become a popular service for many Londoners. But I fully understand the decision that has been taken.

It would be simply wrong for TfL to continue to license Uber if there was any way this could pose a threat to Londoners’ safety or security. TfL has said it believes Uber’s conduct demonstrates a lack of corporate responsibility around a number of issues that have potential public safety and security implications. These include Uber’s approach to reporting serious criminal offences, and the way it obtains medical certificates and security checks (Enhanced Disclosure and Barring Service) for their drivers.

All private-hire operators in London need to play by the rules. The safety and security of customers must be paramount.

Uber’s current licence does not expire until the end of September so the service will continue, for now. The company will also be able to continue to operate until the appeals process has been exhausted.

Around the world, new private-hire vehicle companies and other disruptive technology businesses are springing up all the time, with new and different ways of working. We know it is possible to combine innovative technology within these fields while also ensuring the necessary safety standards are met. It would not be right for exceptions to be made.

I have repeatedly said the regulatory environment is critical in protecting Londoners’ safety, maintaining workplace standards for drivers and sustaining a vibrant taxi and private hire market with space for a range of providers to flourish. It is not simply regulation for regulation’s sake.

One of the reasons why London has become such a success with international business over centuries is because of our professionalism and sense of British fair play, with transparent rules, laws and regulations. This ensures that all companies are treated equally – something we would never want to lose.

I suspect it will take some time before this situation with Uber fully plays out. In the meantime, I will continue my work to help support innovative businesses in London and to create a vibrant and safe taxi and private hire market.

During the mayoral election, I promised I would be the most pro-business mayor London has ever had. That promise is reflected in the work we are doing from City Hall to support companies and entrepreneurs who are reinventing and reviving many of our traditional business sectors.

As we go forward in the months and years ahead, I know London will continue to be an incredible hotbed of innovation and new technology, as well as a city where businesses understand that they have no choice but to adhere to the rules like everyone else – especially when it comes to the safety of Londoners.

• Sadiq Khan is the mayor of London

source: https://www.theguardian.com/

Tough new rules say all Scunthorpe Hackney Carriages must be white and female drivers can’t wear short skirts

The new rules have been laid down by North Lincolnshire Council, with all cabs to be white by December 2023

Tough new rules for cabbies including a ban on female drivers wearing short skirts are to be introduced by North Lincolnshire Council.

Under a new policy agreed by the authority’s licensing committee today (Thursday, September 21) all Hackney Carriage vehicles will have to be white by December 2023.

Committee members were told a standard livery was required to ensure the cabs were easily recognisable to members of the public.

All new and replacement vehicles will have have to conform to the new livery requirement before the deadline in six years’ time.

But Councillor Carl Sherwood was concerned passengers might have problems with the new livery as there were lots of white vehicles around.
Licensing manager Nick Bramhill pointed out the cars carried plenty of signage.

Female taxi drivers will be banned from wearing short skirts under new rules.

Councillor Steve Swift felt the new livery requirement did not go far enough and suggested extra markings on the vehicles.

Mr Bramhill said the trade bodies were quite happy with the rule as white vehicles were easier to source.

Under the new policy, applicants for licences will also have to demonstrate they are able to read and write in English.

Cabbies who have other driving jobs will be required to keep a record of the hours they drive – even on private land.

Operators of cabs fitted with CCTV systems will have to ensure they are registered with the Information Commissioner.

Cabs will also have to be fitted with child seats and drivers will be held responsible for the safety of children.

Drivers will be required to disclose all their previous convictions, regardless of whether or not they would be regarded as spent under the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act.

And for the first time, smoking electronic cigarettes in taxis will see drivers have points docked off their licence.

The licensing watchdogs also agreed to amend the dress code for cabbies.

Ear-muffs and scarves covering the face are banned, while headwear except for religious headwear including skull caps and turbans will also not be allowed.

Football shirts, flip-flops and skirts shorter than knee-length have also been banned, while offensive tattoos have to be covered up.

In a further change, operators will be able for the first time to buy and display private registration plates from the council for a £150 fee renewable at the rate of £50 every year.

The number plate must not be offensive and contain between three and five digits with at least one number at the end.

source: http://www.scunthorpetelegraph.co.uk/

Councillors meet today to decide whether to push ahead with implementing the drive, first agreed in 1994, to make all Granite City cabs wheelchair accessible.

But the ruling has long provoked anger, with taxi drivers arguing they have to shell out thousands on the new vehicles – despite many disabled customers being unable to use them.

New legal advice from the UK government has also revealed that there is “no mandatory requirement” for the rule from a legal standpoint.

The opposition SNP group have indicated they will try to throw out the rule today.

But council officers have recommended the authority push ahead, with fears raised that disabled groups and drivers who have bought new cars could pursue legal action if there is a u-turn now.

A council spokeswoman said:”Currently 54% of Aberdeen’s taxi fleet are accessible vehicles.

“In 2012 Aberdeen City Council’s Licencing Committee set out a policy of a gradual progression towards a 100% accessible vehicle taxi fleet and settled on a date of June 2017 by which the exemption would no longer apply and all vehicles required to be wheelchair accessible. This date was amended to June 2018 by Full Council in May 2016. Operators have been given considerable advance notice.

“It is the view of officers that the policy remains the best method of ensuring the council complies with its obligations. It is important to note that the policy refers to the taxi fleet only, and not to private hire vehicles.

“The intention behind the policy however is that any person should be able to access any vehicle in a taxi queue or hailed on the street.”

Stephen Flynn, SNP leader, said: “As someone with mobility issues, I know that a lot of people struggle to access these supposedly accessible vehicles.

“Equality means we need to meet the needs of everyone and we will seek to get the council to look again at this policy.”

Tommy Campbell, north-east regional representative for the Unite union which represents many drivers, called the councillors to develop a “common sense approach” to the ruling.

He said: “The councillors should apply a healthy dose of common sense, I would call on them to finally abandon this policy for good.”