Conviction of Telford cabbie over assistance dog welcomed
A trading standards boss has welcomed the conviction of a taxi driver who refused to let a hearing impaired man into his car with his assistance dog in Telford.
Naman Yaqub, who drives for Diamond Cars, was ordered to pay out more than £1,000 in fines and costs after rejecting Tom Kane and his cocker spaniel Harley after they’d been to the Royal British Legion in Dawley, Telford, last August.
A change in the law in 2017 means it is now illegal for taxi drivers to refuse to carry passengers with wheelchairs or assistance/guide dogs.
Telford Magistrates Court heard that when Yaqub saw Mr Kane’s dog, he locked his door and said: “No dog”. Yaqub, 44, of Aintree Close, Leegomery, Telford, denied the charge of failing or refusing to carry out a booking for a disabled person accompanied by an assistance dog, but was found guilty after trial.
He could now have his taxi licence revoked after the facts in the case are considered by the licensing panel.
Frances Darling, Shropshire Council’s trading standards and licensing operations manager, said: “We welcomes the outcome of this case. The Equality Act 2010 makes the position in respect of taking assistance dogs quite clear – whether they are guide dogs, hearing dogs or medical assistance dogs – it is a criminal offence for a private hire driver to refuse to take an assistance dog unless the driver has a medical exemption issued by the council’s licensing team.
“Shropshire Council takes incidents such as this extremely seriously as they affect some of the most vulnerable people in our society.”
She added: “It is incredibly disheartening to hear of this particular incident and that a driver licensed by Shropshire Council has clearly fallen far below what is expected of him.
“It is, however, reassuring that following an investigation and the legal process being followed, the court has rightly found the driver guilty.
“We will continue to ensure that taxi and private hire operators and drivers licensed by Shropshire Council comply with all legislation applicable to them. I encourage the public to report any suspected illegal activity to us; the public can rest assured that any future incidents of this kind will be investigated.”
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