Prospective Lancashire taxi driver who lied about having no past convictions fined
Zaheer Abbas applied for the grant of a private hire and hackney carriage driver’s licence at Chorley Council on June 28, 2022.
In support of his application, he declared he had never been convicted of an offence and that he had never had a licence revoked by another council.
In fact, he had been convicted by Manchester Magistrates’ Court in 2017 for an offence of unlawfully plying for hire.
Abbas, of Carlton Street, Burnley, had his hackney carriage driver licence revoked by Rossendale Borough Council as a result.
What is plying for hire?
Plying for hire is when a driver takes an unbooked journey for payment which could make the driver’s insurance policy invalid.
Only Hackney Carriage vehicles can take fares without being booked in advance provided they are working within their own licensed district. Hackney Carriages can legally work anywhere in the country but once outside of their licensed district they can only take booked journeys via a private hire company.
Private hire cars must not ply for hire or stop on Hackney Carriage Ranks.
How was his lie uncovered?
His dishonesty was identified by Chorley Council Officers during their usual licensing checks.
An investigation was subsequently launched.
Abbas withdrew his application for a licence shortly after.
What happened afterwards?
The 41-year-old was invited to explain his actions on several occasions, confirming to officers that he was going to attend an interview under caution before then failing to attend.
His actions generated hundreds of pounds in interpreter costs, Chorley Council said.
Regardless of his failure to assist with the investigation, the council decided to charge Abbas for an offence contrary to Section 57 of the Local Government (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1976.
He pleaded guilty to this offence but requested a court hearing to mitigate the sentence.
Following a hearing at Blackpool Magistrates’ Court on March 8, Abbas was convicted of the offence and fined £120, reduced to £80 due to his early guilty plea.
He was also ordered to pay a victim surcharge of £32 and the council’s costs of £539.
Rossendale Borough Council provided a witness statement as part of the proceedings.