‘Reckless’ Portsmouth taxi drivers lose bid to get back licences after Gunwharf Quays brawl

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TWO ‘reckless’ taxi drivers who lost their licences after a brawl in Gunwharf Quays have failed in their bid to get them back.

Ahmad Kabiri and Ismael Askari were stripped of their licences by Portsmouth City Council earlier this year after they were involved in a fight with customers waiting for a cab.

Councillor Hannah Hockaday, vice-chairwoman of Portsmouth City Council’s licensing committee

Both men, of Portsmouth, appealed to the courts as they thought they were the victims and should be allowed to keep their jobs.

Portsmouth magistrates heard that a group of men waiting for a taxi at the rank outside Gunwharf decided to jump in a cab behind the one they were meant to get into. The driver in front got out and questioned them, but they insisted on staying and waiting until another group got in ahead of them.

But this led to a disagreement and resulted in a fight in the street.

It was agreed Kabiri and Askari were assaulted and provoked first – but when Gunwharf’s head of security arrived to calm things down they attacked her and another customer.

Other taxi drivers were seen trying to pull the cabbies away.

The appeal was thrown out as the bench believed Kabiri and Askari ‘exacerbated’ the situation and should have backed off.

They were described as being ‘reckless’ in their actions and backed up the council that they are not ‘fit and proper’ to be licensed taxi drivers.

Councillor Hannah Hockaday, vice-chairwoman of the council’s licensing committee, which revoked the drivers’ licences following the assault on April 24 this year, said: ‘I’m pleased with the decision.

‘The expectation is that when you hold a Portsmouth taxi badge, you lead by example and don’t act irresponsibly or violently.’

Cllr Hockaday criticised the drivers for believing they were not at fault.

She said: ‘The way the drivers acted was unacceptable and caused a lot of chaos in Gunwharf.’ Kabiri and Askari were ordered to pay the council £802 each.

A spokesperson for Gunwharf Quays declined to comment.