Saturday, October 25, 2014

Milton Keynes Minicab Clipboard Johnny charged with touting.

The Daily Mirror reported that Sohail Masood 34, put on a yellow high-vis jacket with ‘Book a Cab Here’ on the back and approached people at a train station, ahead of waiting black cab drivers

A court heard he had already clashed with rival drivers outside the rail station in Milton Keynes, Bucks, on a previous occasion before he was arrested.

Masood, who owns Northants-based ‘Starline Cabs’, was found guilty of soliciting people for private vehicle hires.

It is believed to be the first time the Crown Prosecution Service has managed to secure a conviction for the charge, commonly known as ‘taxi touting.’

Dad of two Masood, from Milton Keynes, told the city’s magistrates: “The first time there was an incident between myself and taxi drivers there.

“The black cab drivers were not very happy about it. They were shouting at me and pushing me to try to stop me from what I was doing.

“I stayed calm and did not retaliate. I was just doing my job.”

He said on that occasion police attended and calmed the situation down and told him to move on to diffuse the situation.

Masood insisted that he did not approach anyone and only booked ‘minicabs’ for customers who approached him 

as the council had told him he could legally do.

Prosecutor Matthew Knight said: “You wore a high visibility jacket that said, book your cab here’. 

“Which means that your actions were enticing people to come to you and book their ‘taxi’ with your company.”

Shiraz Rustom, defending, said Masood was a reputable businessman of good character.

He said: “Mr Masood faces losing his livelihood for something he made the effort to make several checks on about whether he would be breaking any laws. 

He believed his actions were within the law.”

Although Masood was convicted, he was then given an absolute discharge, meaning he faces no punishment because the magistrates said he had tried to find out if he would be acting within the law.

He was ordered to pay £150 court costs.


Mirror survey: Should touting for passengers be a crime?  Click here to take part and read this story on the Mirror website


Editorial comment:

Over the years there have been many convictions and there is much case law, but for illegally plying for hire. 
Many touts have been arrested most take a police caution. 

This is the reason why it's imperative "plying for hire" must be defined in Law when the Law commission finally submit their report.

This is the first conviction for Touting and has indeed set a  precedence.
But again there is much wrong with this case.
Ignorance of the law, should not have affected the sentence. 

We waited many years for LTPH to bring a case of touting to court. They always said that it would be a dangerous area. 
Mason and Chapman said they were waiting for an open and shut case.....they took Diamond Chauffeurs to court....and then lost.

Unfortunately, there is no appetite from TfL to seriously enforce against touting or illegally plying for hire. Once convictions statistics start mounting up, everyone would be able to see the scale of the problem. TfL prefer to stay low key on this. 

Complaints are misplaced, no arrests=No problem 
FOI requests return same answer, "we don't keep statistics on these issues"

The police see this as a low priority and in some cases, actually facilitate touting. Same with councils. 

Let's hope that now we finally have a first conviction, that we can now go forward from here on.