Taxi driver loses appeal

A TAXI driver convicted of dangerous driving after a passenger jumped from his cab and died has failed in an Appeal Court bid to get his licence back. Avtar Singh Mander, 41, a taxi driver of 14 years, landed a £3,000 fine and costs bill and was banned fr

A TAXI driver convicted of dangerous driving after a passenger jumped from his cab and died has failed in an Appeal Court bid to get his licence back.

Avtar Singh Mander, 41, a taxi driver of 14 years, landed a £3,000 fine and costs bill and was banned from driving for a year following his conviction at Luton Crown Court in February.

Mander's decision to drive some passengers to a police station on the night of August 5, 2006, turned to tragedy when 20-year-old Oliver Livings jumped through an open door and sustained serious head injuries.

Mr Livings, of Vicarage Close, Langford, died of the injuries he sustained when he hit the pavement, but Mander was not blamed for the death and the trial jury was never told of it.

He was convicted on the basis that he had driven dangerously in failing to make sure the doors of his cab were closed, in circumstances where a passenger could be thrown out of the taxi if it hit a bump.

Mander, of Newlands, Letchworth GC took his case to the Court of Appeal in London on Tuesday where his barrister, Geoffrey Birch, failed to convince three judges that it was wrong to ban him from driving.

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Mr Birch told the judges that there was no evidence of a "significant lack of driving skills." His only mistake had been to drive off with a sliding door partly open, intending to drive Mr Livings and another man to Biggleswade Police Station when he suspected them of intending not to pay.

He had picked up the pair and another three men, all having consumed a large quantity of alcohol, in Hitchin and was taking them to Langford.

He was talking to a police officer on his phone when Mr Livings leapt from the car, at the time travelling at 30mph.

Refusing to overturn the ban, Sir Peter Cresswell, who sat with Lord Justice Hughes and Mr Justice Treacy, said the trial judge was in the best position to weigh the circumstances and decide for himself. He added: ''We do not consider that the judge's decision in disqualifying was wrong in principle in all the circumstances of the case.''

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