Fury after cabbie is allowed to keep licence after attacking fellow taxi driver at Havant railway station

Taxi driver James Conway
Taxi driver James Conway
  • Council defends its decision, arguing the driver had already received punishment from the police and South West Trains
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TAXI driver James Conway has spoken of his outrage after a council decided not to revoke the licence of another cabbie who attacked him.

The 56-year-old was left with a black eye, bruises and a broken finger after being assaulted by 62-year-old Michael A’Hearn.

I can’t believe they could let him get away with it

James Conway

The pair had worked alongside each other at Havant railway station for the past three years, but disagreements escalated into a full-blown confrontation on July 4 this year.

British Transport Police cautioned Mr A’Hearn for common assault and his station pass was suspended for three months by South West Trains.

But Mr Conway said he was shocked when Havant Borough Council held a licence review hearing and decided to allow Mr A’Hearn to continue taking fares.

Describing the attack, Mr Conway, from Waterlooville, who has worked at the station for 14 years, said: ‘I said to him from about 15ft away, “don’t keep slagging me off to the other drivers”.

‘The next thing he was up in my face. He started to push and shove me. He’s absolutely beat the heck out of me, giving me a black eye and a broken finger.’

Mr Conway said he did not retaliate as he was wearing his driver’s badge.

He said: ‘The police turned up and put him in handcuffs and took him away.’

Councillors decided to add a point to Mr A’Hearn’s licence. Three points could result in the licence being revoked, subject to another review hearing.

Mr Conway said: ‘I’m gobsmacked. I can’t believe they could let him get away with it.’

Cllr David Smith, chairman of the licensing committee, said: ‘The driver had already received a British Transport Police caution following the incident and been barred by SW Trains from operating from Havant Station taxi rank for a period of three months. In circumstances whereby a driver is arrested and charged for particular offences, the committee would take a more robust decision.’

A BTP spokesman said: ‘A 62-year-old man from Portsmouth was cautioned for common assault.’

It is understood Mr A’Hearn, of Copnor, was of previous good character.

He was not available for comment.