A DISGUSTED Brierfield taxi driver, who tried to protect himself during a racial and physical assault, believes he should never have had his licence suspended by Pendle Council.
Ali Ahmed (36), who works for family-run firm VIP Cars, in Nelson, has told how he found himself in an intimidating situation, after picking two customers up from the Fence Gate Inn at the end of April.
According to Mr Ahmed, he was targeted for his colour and had chairs thrown at him when he got out of the car, before he eventually retaliated in a bid to save himself. He was arrested and later charged for the incident, but has now been acquitted by Pennine magistrates.
Once charged, Mr Ahmed had his taxi license suspended by Pendle Council on May 30th. His licence was given back to him at a Taxi Licensing Committee meeting on July 9th.
Now, the former forklift truck driver has shared his ordeal in the hope of raising awareness to other taxi drivers and stopping others from going through a similarly distressing process.
The father-of-four, of Edge End Avenue, Brierfield, said: “I had my taxi licence suspended due to an incident that took place in my car.
“I picked a couple of customers up from Fence Gate Inn, and was faced with racial abuse on my journey to Burnley.
“I decided to bring them back to the Fence Gate, as I didn’t want to leave them in the middle of nowhere. I got assaulted on the way back, and then things got a bit more nasty.
“I acted in self defence to protect myself, but then got arrested and charged a month after. On the day I was charged, I had my license suspended by Pendle Council.”
Mr Ahmed believes Pendle Council should have not suspended his license, based on the charge alone.
But, according to a council spokesman, licences are suspended for reasons of public safety, when charges of assault have been made against a taxi driver.
Mr Ahmed said: “My loss of earning and the ordeal I went through should not have happened. This is the first time I’ve been through something like this, and where were the council to help me?
“That’s the point I’m trying to raise.
“There are no jobs out there, and they took my licence away from me for five weeks. You are innocent until proven guilty.
“I’m not here to cause trouble, I am here to earn a living, and that’s not been taken into consideration. It was a difficult time. It was unfair.
“A lot of drivers do get involved in incidents, and a lot don’t speak up.”
And Jackie Allen, taxi licensing manager, said: “It’s our policy to suspend a taxi driver’s licence when he or she is charged with assault for reasons of public safety.
“Mr Ahmed appeared before the Licensing Committee on July 9th and they agreed to lift his suspension before his trial, as the other party had also been charged with assault.
“We are satisfied the courts have now dealt with this matter appropriately.”