A taxi driver has been ordered to pay nearly £2,000 after refusing to pick up a woman because of her guide dog then driving over her foot as he sped away.
The Manchester Evening News reports that Uber driver Abdul Hamid Hasinyani, 54, was called to collect university researcher Joanna Hearn through the app in July 2017.
Mrs Hearn relies on her guide dog because she has severe tunnel vision and night blindness.
She needed a taxi from the Whitworth Park area near the University of Manchester but as Hasinyani pulled up to collect her he seemed to notice the dog and drove off again, Manchester Magistrates’ Court heard.
With the door of the vehicle still open as he drove off, Hasinyani ran over Mrs Hearn’s foot, leaving her shaken and injured.
At a court hearing in February Hasinyani pleaded guilty to driving without due care and attention. He pleaded not guilty to refusing to carry an assistance dog but on June 4 he changed his plea.
Hasinyani was fined £1,945, including £500 for refusing the dog and £85 for driving without care. He was also ordered to pay costs of £1,200 plus a £50 victim surcharge and given eight penalty points on his driving licence.
Hasinyani was licensed as a private hire driver by Rossendale Borough Council, but he was prosecuted by Manchester City Council since the incident occurred in the city.
Manchester City Council’s executive member for neighbourhoods, Cllr Rabnawaz Akbar, said: “Hasinyani’s behaviour was shameful and callous in the extreme. He had no right to treat Joanna in such a manner and it is right that he has received a heavy financial penalty for these offences”.
Cllr Akbar said: “Manchester expects much higher standards of conduct than this from private hire drivers and we hope that Rossendale Council, who licensed Hasinyani, will now investigate the case and take appropriate action against him,” said Cllr Akbar.
“We will have no hesitation in prosecuting any taxi driver who refuses to accept an assistance dog and I hope this sentence makes it clear that offences of this kind will not be tolerated in Manchester.”
Cllr Christine Lamb, Rossendale Council’s Portfolio Holder for Regulatory Services, said: “This behaviour does not meet the very high standards we expect of the drivers licensed by Rossendale.
“We have fully supported Manchester City Council’s investigation into this matter and we are pleased with the strong result. Rossendale Council will continue to work closely with other agencies as part of our continued enforcement activities both within and outside of the borough.
“Now that the case has concluded, members of our Licensing Sub-committee will meet to review Hasinyani’s licence in order to determine whether he remains fit and proper to hold such a licence.”
Mmmmm.... At last a proper level of fines and costs have been awarded - Ed.