| 5.1°C Dublin

Taximan on phone fights to get licence back

A TAXI DRIVER has been given High Court permission to challenge a decision to revoke his licence after gardai found he was not a fit and proper person to drive a cab.

Victor Reid, Cashel Avenue, Crumlin, Dublin, claims he was not afforded fair procedures when he was called last month to the Carriage Office in Dublin to allegedly discuss his fitness to hold a licence, following an incident last year when he was stopped by gardai for using his mobile phone while driving.

Luan O'Braonain, for Mr Reid, told the court arising out of that incident, his client's car was searched and a bag containing what appeared to be a controlled drug was found in the boot. Mr Reid gave an explanation about it saying he had no control or knowledge about what was in the bag.

When the explanation was given to Supt Declan Brogan, during last month's meeting in the Carriage Office, the officer was alleged to have said: "I don't believe you, do you think I came up on the last train," counsel said.

Mr Reid's father was with him during the interview and when his son was asked to leave the room, the superintendent allegedly said he [superintendent] believed Mr Reid junior was "on drugs". The father offered to have him tested for drugs by his doctor and this was done, showing he was clear of all drugs.

Supt Brogan also said the appearance of Mr Reid in his taxi driver licence photograph was different from how he appeared in person, counsel said.

It is claimed that the failure of the gardai to give prior notice of what they intended to speak to Mr Reid about before the Carriage Office interview was a breach of natural and constitutional justice and of his right to have a legal adviser present.

It is also claimed there was breach of fair procedures in asking Mr Reid to leave the room and that Supt Brogan's conduct during the hearing demonstrated a bias against him.

The decision to revoke his licence was unreasonable and irrational, it was claimed.

Mr Justice Michael Peart gave Mr Reid's lawyers permission to challenge the revoking of his licence and said his order would act as a stay on that revocation until next month when the matter would be back before the court. The proceedings are against Supt Brogan, the Garda Commissioner and the Attorney General.