A TAXI driver was refused a private hire licence after it came to light he had been accused of sexual assault — despite the fact he was later found not guilty of the allegations.
Bury Council chiefs heard how the applicant had been taken to court charged with two counts of sexual assault against a female passenger, who claimed he had touched her intimately without her consent.
The jury at the first trial, held at Manchester Crown Court, could not reach a verdict and the following year he was found not guilty on both counts.
But Bury Council’s licensing and and safety panel found that he was not a fit and proper person to hold a private hire licence.
The details — held by the police — came to light following an enhanced DBS check carried out when the applicant applied to Bury Council for a private hire licence.
Minutes from the meeting state: “Although not convicted, the panel was satisfied that the version of the events provided by Greater Manchester Police was on balance the version that it would accept.
“The complainant had gone through the investigation and two trials and there was no basis upon which to doubt her version of events."
The panel had heard how, in 2015, the applicant had allegedly grabbed the 31-year-old while she was sitting in the back of his taxi, pulled her towards him and touching her intimately without her consent.
She then moved into the front of the vehicle due to feeling scared, but did not go along with the driver’s suggestion of buying some alcohol.
The woman alleged that the driver then tried to kiss and touch her intimately, while telling her she didn’t have to pay for the journey.
And that after persuading him to take her to a fast-food restaurant, she then called a friend to pick her up, and subsequently the reported the incident to the police and taxi firm.
Addressing the licensing panel the applicant admitted agreeing to a £10 fare despite no pre-booking being in place, which is mandatory for private hire drivers.
But he said the woman passenger had jumped into the taxi without waiting for it to stop first, then asked to be taken to the fast-food restaurant so she could use the toilet. Upon arrival her friend appeared.
He then received a phone call from the police the following day regarding the allegations.
The applicant went on to tell the panel that he has been a full-time taxi driver with Manchester Council since 2010 and never had any complaints against him.
He added that he had lived in the UK since 1974 and was hard working with four children and grandchildren to support and it had been “a very stressful time for the whole family”
He also brought a number of character references to the meeting.
A petition calling for Erewash cabbies to be allowed to have fully-tinted windows in their taxis has been rejected over fears that vehicles could be used to enable the abuse of vulnerable children and adults.