JAILED: Teenager punched taxi driver in face after trip to Drayton Manor
A violent teenager who broke a taxi driver's cheekbone during a struggle as he tried to get away without paying has been jailed.
Kiran Lakh, from Wednesbury, denied inflicting grievous bodily harm on taxi driver Mohammed Emam.
But after watching CCTV recordings of the incident, a jury at Coventry Crown Court found him guilty.
Lakh, 18, of Booth Road, was convicted by a majority of 11-1 and had admitted breaching a suspended sentence and driving a car taken without consent.
Prosecuting, Andrew Wilkins, said that on June 9 last year, Lakh was among a group of adults and children who had visited Drayton Manor Theme Park and then travelled to Tamworth train station in two taxis.
When they arrived at the station, the children in the taxi in which Lakh was travelling got out and ran into the station followed by Lakh who walked away from the taxi without paying.
Driver Mr Emam followed to ask for the taxi fare and as he remonstrated with him, Lakh tried to walk away.
Mr Emam took hold of him by his sleeve to prevent him from doing so, and there was a struggle between them in the doorway to the station before Lakh punched him to the face.
The court heard that the driver let go as he was knocked to the floor, but got up and, with his hand to his face, followed Lakh into the station where there was a further confrontation between them.
Mr Emam was assisted by another driver, who stepped in to prevent Lakh attacking him further, and the police were called.
Lakh was pointed out to officers who arrested him, but then released him after Mr Emam, not realising how badly injured he was at that time, said he did not want to pursue a complaint.
But he later went to hospital because of continuing pain to his face, and it was found he had suffered a fractured cheekbone which required surgery involving the insertion of a metal plate to repair the damage.
As a result, Lakh was arrested and charged, but claimed he had been acting in self-defence.
Driving a taxi into a wall
The court then heard that while the attack on Mr Emam was under investigation, Lakh was arrested for the attempted robbery of another taxi driver in October last year.
He had called for a taxi to pick him up from an address and when it turned up he had blocked it in and demanded money before driving the taxi into a wall after the driver had run off.
For that he was given a 23-month suspended sentence in May this year, but had failed to comply with the order by not turning up for probation appointments, telling his probation officer on one occasion that he ‘could not be bothered.’
And on June 10, while subject to the suspended sentence and while on bail for the offence at the railway station, he had been stopped driving a stolen car on the M6, added Mr Wilkins.
In relation to the assault on Mr Emam, Richard Reynolds, defending, argued: “There was a lack of premeditation and a degree of provocation, although I would not submit it was excessive self-defence.”
But Judge Andrew Lockhart QC responded: “I am not with you on that. He was aggressive throughout.”
Lakh was sentenced to nine months for the attack on the taxi driver – consecutive to 18 months of the suspended sentence which he was also ordered to serve.
Judge Lockhart told him: “You are still a young man, but you are an unpleasant and violent young man – and that is going to have to change.
“In October 2018, at a time when you had punched someone, and you knew well you didn’t do it in self-defence, as the jury has found, you committed an attempted robbery of a taxi driver.
“You were given a very, very lenient sentence, in my opinion, and you have shown contempt for that order.
“You have been offending and offending, and it’s going to stop now.”
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