A taxi driver has been jailed for six months for molesting a female passenger after driving her to Meltham.
Sentencing Shahzad Yousaf at Leeds Crown Court, Recorder Ben Nolan QC said there had to be an immediate jail term so the message could go out. “Women must know that they can trust the driver of a taxi they get into late at night,” he said.
According to the Huddersfield Examiner, Yousaf, 44, was found guilty by a jury at Leeds Crown Court of sexual assault on the teenager on January 3 last year. He was ordered to register as a sex offender for seven years and barred from working as a taxi driver or private hire driver for five years.
The girl, who was 18 at the time, said he had driven her to Meltham after she had been on a night out with a friend in Huddersfield and then quoted her a fare of £9.50.
She told the jury she queried that saying she normally paid only £8 and Yousaf told her: “It would be cheaper if you give me a kiss.”
She said she refused and felt uneasy. She gave him the fare and as she went to get out he put his arms around her upper body and started kissing the side of her neck and cheek until she shrugged him off.
She told a friend she had “never felt so scared in her life” but was also angry about what had happened and subsequently reported it to the police. She said in a victim impact statement: “I’m a lot more careful and aware of what I’m doing. I do not get a taxi on my own if I can avoid it unless I really have to.”
Yousaf denied he tried to kiss the girl and claimed she had tried to kiss him, an account which was rejected by the jury.
Geraldine Kelly, representing Yousaf, said he was of previous good character. Since his conviction his father had died which had impacted on him and his family and if he was jailed immediately that would also affect them.
He had worked in a mill prior to getting his taxi licence anticipating redundancies. He had not worked in that new job for very long before the allegation was made and he had to give it up.
Mmmm... This reopens the matter of new Home Office guidelines, for which we have been asking for almost 25 years; also a national driver database. This man is ordered to register as a sex offender for seven years, but barred from holding a taxi or PHV badge for only five years?? Would you feel safe allowing your daughter to travel in this guy’s taxi??? That is the question in the seminal case concerning fit and proper; surely he should be barred for all time. Ed.