1:11pm Wednesday 30th October 2013
A TAXI driver who got hold of a 13-year-old girl passenger’s phone number and is alleged to have asked her if she liked smoking drugs, has lost an appeal against his private hire licence being revoked.
On August 29, Bolton’s Council’s licensing committee revoked Riazuddin Malji’s private hire licence after deciding he was not a fit and proper person to hold one.
Yesterday at Bolton Magistrates’ Court he lost his appeal, with chairman of the bench Irene Smith telling him: “We do not find your evidence, Mr Malji, to be credible and do not accept any aspect of it.”
Andrew Marrs, counsel for Bolton Council, told the court the girl had ordered a taxi to take her from her home in Westhougton to Trinity Street railway station at 3.20pm on August 3.
But the friend she was expecting to meet was not there so she asked to be taken on to the Beehive Roundabout.
The court heard Malji turned off his vehicle’s data system, which linked him to the Metro taxi’s office and enables the car’s route to be identified.
Mr Marrs said Malji, aged 39, of Essingdon Street, Bolton, asked the girl to ring his mobile phone, claiming it would enable him to top up his credit on it.
Mr Marrs added that the girl became so concerned by his behaviour that when the car stopped she said she needed to buy something from a shop, paid him the £24 he asked for and fled, leaving her house keys behind in her hurry.
A woman passerby took her to the nearby McDonald's and called police.
Malji sent her text messages and rang her after he was questioned by police, allegedly calling her a liar.
Giving evidence, Malji claimed the girl had asked him for his phone number to drive her to Blackpool the following weekend and he did not realise she was only 13.
Speaking after the hearing, the girl’s mother said other parents should be made aware of her daughter’s frightening experience.
“I think she was very lucky and had the sense to get out (of the car) when she did,” she said.
She added that the teenager will not now go in another taxi and now relies on lifts from friends and family.
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