A taxi driver who flouted the law by driving nearly 200 bookings despite not having a valid licence has been fined £1,582 and banned from driving for 12 months by Chesterfield Magistrates.

Mr Chaudhry Shoaib Ur Raza from Ashfield had held a licence to drive hackney carriages and private hire vehicles issued by us, until it expired on 9 March 2019 as a result of errors with Mr Raza’s application to renew his licence. Despite making several attempts to contact him to resolve the problem Mr Raza continued to drive and take bookings. A  representative image of a taxi

On 30 July 2019, we contacted Mr Raza to remind him that he was not legally permitted to drive his hackney carriage as his licence had expired. Mr Raza claimed he was only working in the office and not driving.

However, operator records for 11 July 2019 to 12 August 2019 showed that the defendant had undertaken a total of 184 bookings during this period, more than half of which took place after he was warned on 30 July that such activity was unlawful.

When interviewed under caution Mr Raza denied committing the offences but was unable to provide any explanation for the booking records and acknowledged that he was not insured to drive for hire and reward if unlicensed.

Mr Raza was charged in respect of four sample journeys undertaken on 1, 3, 8 and 11 August, all of which took place within Derbyshire and on each occasion he did not hold a valid licence nor was the vehicle insured as a result.

Mr Raza failed to attend both the original and sentencing court dates in December and January, but we proved him guilty in absence on all eight charges.

He was awarded 6 points for four offences of driving without insurance, totalling 24 points and a driving disqualification for 12 months for the totting up of points.

He also received a £300 fine for each offence and had to pay £350.00 costs and £32 victim surcharge, totalling £1,582.

District Judge Taaffe decided to impose no separate penalties for the offences of driving without a taxi licence.

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