A taxi driver in Cornwall has had their licence revoked after he knocked a man unconscious, placed him in the recovery position and then left to pick up other customers.
A licensing committee meeting heard the driver claimed that “knocking someone out was a safe and effective way” to diffuse a situation after he alleged that the man had caused criminal damage to his car and was threatening him along with another man.
The driver’s licence was reviewed by Cornwall Council’s Driver and Operator Licence Sub Committee which agreed to revoke his licence.
The decision was made at an urgent meeting held on July 28 which was held in private due to the disclosure of personal information. The minutes of the meeting have only recently been published.
Councillors heard from the driver who claimed that “knocking someone out was a safe and effective way” to diffuse a situation. The driver claimed that he was an “evidence based researcher” who was into “emotional intelligence”.
In the minutes, it is explained that the driver, only identified as CD237, addressed the committee to explain why he felt that no further action should be taken.
However, councillors decided that he was “not a fit and proper person” to hold a licence and that it should be revoked immediately.
The minutes explain: “That CD237 knocked a man unconscious in the early hours of Sunday 15th May 2022 and in the statement to the Licensing Service CD237 stated he “remained so for several minutes”. That was of great concern for members.”
They add: “C237 claimed initially in that statement that the man had caused criminal damage to his car by chipping off some paint.
"He informed members that there was a “loud bang” to a window but there was no damage.
"CD237 claimed the man was intoxicated and was accompanied by another man, whom CD237 claimed to be threatening and if the need arose would have diffused the situation in another way by using a different restraining technique.”
The minutes further state: “He claimed that when he confronted the man there was an “implied threat” to him and that is why he acted as he did.
"Members were concerned as to the criteria used by CD237 to assess any threat. He informed members that he was an “evidence based researcher” into “emotional intelligence” and that knocking someone out was a safe and effective way to diffuse a situation such as this.
"Members could not agree with such a position. They had serious concerns that he would react similarly if he perceived an “implied threat” in the future. There were clear public safety concerns.”
Councillors were also concerned that after placing the injured man into the recovery position the driver then left to pick up other customers in his taxi.
The minutes state: “Members would have expected a fit and proper person to have contacted the Police and/or the Ambulance Service as soon as was possible and to have a break before resuming work. It was only after working and returning to the rank that he spoke to the Police.”
Members of the committee had to consider whether they would allow someone they care for to travel alone in a vehicle with the driver at any time of day or night – they concluded that they could not.
The minutes state: “Members would also stress that whether any crime was committed or not did not affect their decision and that they took great care not to impinge on any criminal process.”
Credit: Local Democracy Reporter Service/Richard Whitehouse