Aylesbury Vale DC v Call a Cab Ltd & Ahtiq Raja
Readers will recall the High Court case of Aylesbury Vale DC v Call a Cab last year.
Briefly, in 2012 Aylesbury Vale DC prosecuted Call a Cab for acting as a private hire operator without a licence from the district council together with Mr Raja, for aiding and abetting the commission of the offences.
During the hearing however, the council did not convince the district judge that it had adopted the proper private hire controls.
Call a Cab Ltd argued that the council had not properly adopted the relevant provisions of the Local Government (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1976.
The council had passed a resolution to adopt the provisions on March 8 1989 and was able to provide evidence of the newspaper advertisements but it could not prove that notices had been sent to parish councils and meetings because its files had been destroyed. For this reason, the court dismissed the council’s case.
Aylesbury Vale appealed the District Judge’s dismissal of the case and in November 2013 the High Court allowed the council’s appeal and sent the case back to the Magistrates’ Court for reconsideration.
Following the appeal, Aylesbury Vale has now successfully prosecuted Call a Cab Ltd (now known as Easy Cabs) and Mr Ahtiq Raja.
A hearing was held at Oxford Magistrates' Court to reconsider the case. Call a Cab Ltd was convicted of five offences of operating a private hire vehicle without a licence and its sole director at the time, Mr Raja, for aiding and abetting the commission of the offences.
Having considered the matter afresh, District Judge Tim Pattinson decided that the additional evidence obtained by AVDC left him in no doubt that the appropriate notifications were made and that the resolution passed by the council in 1989 was valid.
The judge said he had no hesitation in rejecting the defence that the company did not require a licence because it was acting as an intermediary and imposed a total fine of £2,500 on each defendant. Both the company and Mr Raja also have to pay a victim surcharge of £50 and prosecution costs of £20,000 in total.
Judge Pattinson also said that he was in no doubt that Mr Raja misled the court last year about the outcome of his own enquiries and that he had lied to the court about the reliability and diligence of his enquiries. He stated this was a very serious matter and noted that he had put the council to a great deal of expense and taken up valuable court time.