The Huddersfield Examiner reports on the conviction of a man who assaulted a Muslim taxi driver after being asked to pay his fare upfront.
Muhammed Naeem picked up Adam Tomlinson, 38, and a friend and asked them to pay the £13.80 fare up front. The two men asked to be driven to a cash machine and as they neared Leeds Road in Huddersfield, Tomlinson became aggressive.
Footage caught on the taxi’s camera system showed Tomlinson verbally abusing the driver before attempting to smash his way through the security screen.
Tomlinson threatened Mr Naeem saying “I’ve got your f****** badge number. I’m going to f****** kill you.” He swore at the frightened driver numerous times before making further threats directed at Mr Naeem’s wife.
Tomlinson goaded Mr Naeem telling him “Take us to the police station” before striking the dividing screen and car windows. He threatened the driver, saying “I will f****** ruin your f****** life you little b******.”
At Kirklees Magistrates Court, Prosecutor Sarah Marsh said Tomlinson “made threats through the dividing screen, swearing and punching it and causing it to break.”
Tomlinson, who pleaded guilty to criminal damage, was fined £220 and ordered to pay £300 compensation to Mr Naeem. He was also required to pay £85 costs, a £20 victim surcharge and the £13.80 unpaid fare.
District Judge Michael Fanning, sentencing Tomlinson said: “Taxi drivers put up with these types of situations and it must not have been pleasant for the person working in that situation.”
Sadly, this is not the first time Mr. Naeem has been the victim of an attack while driving his taxi. Last year, Paul Knell, 28, pleaded guilty to charges of assault and criminal damage after a vicious attack on Mr Naeem in June 2015. Mr. Naeem criticised the community sentence handed down to Knell in January 2016, saying his attacker should have been jailed for the psychological damage he had caused him.
The plight of taxi drivers and the prevalence of abuse has prompted some taxi firms to install cameras in their cabs as standard to capture footage of customers behaving badly and to assist the police in bringing perpetrators to justice.