A Birmingham drug offender has opposed his becoming a taxi driver, arguing that he is about to get married and wants to support his family.
Tokheer Farooq was taken with cannabis on him two years ago. He criticized his friend for “panicking” and throwing him on his knees when the police stopped their car, but was nevertheless later convicted of possession.
As a result, Birmingham City Council, 28, was denied his application for a private rental license and ruled that he was not a “fit and suitable person”.
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But in the city’s district court on Thursday, June 17, Mr. Farooq appealed the decision.
He said: “I live with my parents. I think I will get married soon. I want to give my family a good future. My family also does this job.”
Mr. Farooq explained that he used to deal with members of the public while working in an off-license. Then he recounted the drug incident in July 2019, which happened after he dropped his car off at a mechanic and a friend picked him up.
Mr. Farooq said, “On the way home, we were arrested by the police. My companion panicked and threw the things in my lap and the police came and saw it was on my lap.
“I didn’t know what to do so I left him there. They handcuffed us both, searched the car and took us to the police station. They said if your mate would admit it, you would go free. but he didn’t admit it. “
He added that he was “no longer friends” with the other person.
It was confirmed in court that Mr. Farooq returned a negative drug test to the police station.
Matthew Cullen, council representative, said: “When a drug conviction is detected in an application, city council always refers it to the licensing subcommittee to decide whether that person should be licensed in light of sentence.
“They examine whether the applicant is a fit and appropriate person and is prepared to take on the special responsibility that comes with being a taxi driver. This demands higher expectations of behavior.”
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He said a drug offense would “normally” mean a private rental application is denied, but added there was “discretion” based on age of conviction, among other factors.
The magistrates rejected Mr. Farooq’s request.
The bench chairman said: “We believe the decision taken by the licensing committee was correct. We have heard no new evidence to suggest that the original decision was incorrect.
“A taxi driver has a special responsibility which is of a higher standard than other public sector services.”