Suspended jail term for private hire driver who ran into fare dodger

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A private hire driver has been given a suspended jail sentence after a court heard he drove after a fare dodger and clipped him with his car while he was on the pavement.

Asim Iltaf had been distracted by other people trying to get into his vehicle when he pulled up outside the Old Griffin Head Inn at Gildersome to drop the man off in January last year.

As he tried to explain the situation to them, his fare in the front passenger seat jumped out and jogged off without paying the £9.60 due.

Andrew Dallas representing Iltaf said his instinctive reaction was to follow and it was only for a few seconds before he caught him.

He said: “He had no intention of running him down, he had not thought it through at all. It was four seconds of driving at a maximum of 12.5mph.”

He added that the life of a private hire driver was not a happy one with drunken passengers and fare dodgers but Iltaf had been doing it successfully for 10 years.

Louise Reevell, prosecuting, told Leeds Crown Court on Wednesday that Iltaf had already started to brake when he caught the passenger, but had two wheels on the pavement which constituted the offence.

The passenger was later found to have a broken arm, but he had been drinking heavily and was seen on CCTV to fall over a short time later when he clambered over a wall and picnic tables so the arm injury could not be attributed to the incident with the car.

Iltaf, 37, of North Park Street, Dewsbury, admitted dangerous driving and was given a six months prison sentence suspended for 12 months with 150 hours unpaid work and £300 prosecution costs. He was also banned from driving for 15 months.

Judge Christopher Batty said in the 10 years Iltaf had been a private hire driver, his driving had never been criticised and employers had given him references.

The judge said: “I accept on this occasion you acted instinctively but what you did was drive on the pavement putting this man at a significant risk and that is a serious matter.”

He added that when he realised there might be a collision, Iltaf had sought to stop but could not do so in time.

The court was told Iltaf now has a job in a textile mill.