Taxi driver's £16k bill for botched licence appeal


Taxi driver's £16k bill for botched licence appeal

A taxi driver from Bexhill has been hit with a £16,000 legal bill after abandoning at the last minute his appeal against a decision to strip him of his licence.

Saleh Uddin had his driver and private hire licences revoked by Rother District Council in September 2018 after being caught employing illegal immigrants at his restaurant, The Chilli Tree.

The council said the offences, coupled with evidence he'd had an inappropriate relationship with a 15-year-old female employee, meant he was not a 'fit and proper person' to hold a taxi licence.

Having already had one appeal against the decision dismissed by magistrates, Uddin launched a fresh appeal, which was due to be considered at Hove Crown Court on Friday, June 14 2019.

However, it was not until the day the hearing was due to start that, Uddin, of King Offa Way, decided to abandon his appeal, and he was therefore ordered to pay the council's full legal costs of £16,090.

Cllr Ashan Jeeawon, chairman of Rother District Council's licensing committee, said: "Rother residents have the right to be able to have trust and confidence in taxi drivers and operators.

"It's quite clear from all the evidence that Uddin was not a fit and proper person to be entrusted with carrying passengers, including potentially vulnerable members of the public.

"While we welcome the awarding of costs, it's disappointing that Uddin has wasted so much of our licensing team's and the courts' time in pursuing frivolous and baseless appeals.

"This case should demonstrate that we expect the very highest professional and ethical standards and won't hesitate to take licences away from those who don't meet them."

Uddin's first appeal against the revocation of his taxi licence was dismissed at Hastings Magistrates' Court in January.

He was also stripped of his licence to serve alcohol at the Chilli Tree, in King Offa Way, by the district council's licensing committee in May last year.

A subsequent appeal against that decision was dismissed at Hastings Magistrates' Court in September, while he also failed in a bid for a judicial review at the High Court in March.

Uddin had been caught by police and immigration officers employing illegal immigrants at his restaurant on two occasions in 2017 and 2018. On the second visit he was also found to be employing a child without the relevant permission.

Published on Wednesday, June 26 2019

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