A TAXI driver who offered to buy a double bed for a young woman passenger had his PSV licence taken from him for inappropriate behaviour today.
Ndongala Malanda of Barr Na Bhaile, Passage West, appealed against the removal of his public service (PSV) licence at Cork District Court today.
However, after hearing the evidence from both sides, Judge Olann Kelleher upheld the Garda Superintendent’s decision to remove the taxi driver’s licence.
The driver rejected the evidence of the woman and said he did not say the things she alleged.
The 25-year-old woman was out socialising on the night and had six to eight drinks and got into the first taxi in the queue at Washington Street at 3.30am on April 6.
She said there was chit-chat about the night at first but by the time they crossed Patrick’s Bridge and were travelling up Bridge Street he began to make inappropriate comments.
The young woman told Sergeant Stephen O’Shea at Cork District Court, “He asked me was I single. I was surprised at the question. I said yes. He asked me to bring him to my bed. I said I only had a single bed. He said, ‘I will buy us a bigger bed’. I said no.
“He continued to make comments. I could not make out what he was saying but the way he looked at me, the way he made me feel, they were inappropriate,” she said.
She said that he asked her to meet him the following day and she said no and then asked could they meet the day after that and she said no again, paid her fare and went into her house.
“I felt uncomfortable. I felt vulnerable. The following day I reported it to the (local) garda station,” she said.
Defence solicitor, Donal Daly, cross-examined the young woman and suggested her recollection was foggy as a result of alcohol. She denied that.
In a submission at the close of evidence in the appeal, Mr Daly said, “This is a serious allegation and a man’s livelihood depends on this. He has a wife and three children.”
The 52-year-old has been living in Ireland for 20 years and working as a taxi driver for the past ten years.
During his own evidence in support of his appeal, the taxi driver said, “This is not me.”
He also said if the woman had proof, such as a recording of the disputed conversation, she should bring it court.
Judge Kelleher concluded, “I accept he was doing his job on the night. I have to allow for some possible misunderstanding on the English language.
“The allegations by this lady are that she felt the questions he asked made her uncomfortable and vulnerable.
“I take the view this was inappropriate by someone in a position of complete trust as a taxi driver. I do believe her evidence.
"I feel his behaviour is inappropriate, dangerous and puts people at risk – people who are paying fares. I reject his appeal against revocation of his driving licence.”