A Brighton cabbie will be allowed to keep his licence to drive a taxi despite being convicted of two offences after a hit and run.
Mehrdad Kaivanpor, 34, of Clermont Terrace, Brighton, saw off an attempt to strip him of his hackney carriage licence at Brighton Magistrates’ Court last week.
The case is the latest in a legal battle that has lasted almost two years – since Kaivanpor knocked cyclist Robyn Gargan, 19, off her bike in Preston Road on Friday 2 May 2014.
Brighton and Hove City Council revoked Kaivanpor’s licence because officials did not believe that he was he was ‘a fit and proper person’ to drive a taxi.
He was convicted in October 2014 of driving without due care and attention and failing to stop after an accident. Magistrates fined him and endorsed his driving licence with nine points – three points short of a ban.
They also upheld the council’s decision to revoke his tax driver’s licence because he could not prove that he was a fit and proper person to hold such a licence.
Kaivanpor took his case to the High Court where, last November, the judges ruled that the council and magistrates had wrongly required him to prove that he was fit and proper. Instead the onus should have been on the council to prove that he was not a fit and proper person to drive a taxi.
The case was sent back to Brighton magistrates’ Court where on Wednesday 10 February it was reheard.
The court found in Kaivanpor’s favour.
The CTC (Cyclists’ Touring Club) road safety and legal campaigns officer Duncan Dollimore has written a blog about the case.
He said: “Despite his convictions for careless driving and failing to stop after an accident, leaving Robyn on the roadside after she was knocked off her bike, the judge decided that the council had not satisfied that test.
“Kaivanpor has his taxi licence back and can be booked for hire along Brighton seafront.”
He quoted Becky Reynolds, campaigns officer for Bricycles, the Brighton and Hove cycling campaign group, who has been following this case.
She expressed her concerns about the road safety risk implications last November, saying: “We really need to be very strict about who we license. Licensing the wrong people could lead to more death and injury on the roads.”
After the decision last week allowing Kaivanpor his licence, Becky Reynolds summed up the frustration and fears of members of the Bricycles campaign, pointing out: “The council’s role, described in the so-called Blue Book of guidance, is to protect the public by refusing or revoking taxi licences where high standards have not been met and the public are put at risk.
“This council and a number of preceding administrations have made enormous efforts to encourage walking and cycling.
“We support the council and we are strongly in support of measures which protect vulnerable road users.
“We are baffled by the judge’s decision to reject the council’s appeal.”
Mr Dollimore said: “The council appears to have taken all possible steps to ensure that its original decision was upheld but that decision has been overturned.
“This presumably means that it is possible to drive carelessly, fail to stop after an accident, leave a young girl injured on the roadside but still be a fit and proper person to drive a taxi.”