March 2015

Driver tells TLT police are unfair

by Colin Duffy

Taxicab driver Mohammed Salah Abdalla had his probation extended as part of a pre-hearing settlement because of concern over his driving record and failure to comply with his existing probation. He had previously received a two-day suspension and three years probation.

As part of his probation, he was required to notify the City of any Highway Traffic Act charges or convictions. He reported the first conviction he received, but failed to report five additional convictions or the charges that came with them. He claimed that he didn’t understand the terms of his probation.

He was represented by licensed paralegal Jason Davie, who promised the Tribunal that he would assist Ahmad with the reporting requirements of his probation. The Tribunal was chaired by David Peacock, with Moira Calderwood and Leigh Lampert also sitting. The City was represented by Matthew Cornett.

Tribunal member Leigh Lampert noted that his record showed 15 offences from 1998 to 2008, and said “I have concerns about your respect for the rules of the road”. Abdalla responded that “I’ve been working in this city for 25 years and never had an accident.” He complained that he has been treated unfairly by law enforcement, saying “police... every day they give us tickets” and “some police... they don’t like us.”

Abdalla received an eight-day suspension and is now on probation for four years, starting Feb 19, 2015. He must also complete a defensive driving course. He must report any charges or convictions under the Highway Traffic Act or City bylaw within three business days. He must also provide, at his own expense, an updated driving record abstract on each of the next four renewals. If the City has any concerns with his record he can be brought back before the Tribunal for a hearing. The Tribunal stressed that simply reporting a problem to the City doesn’t mean that he will lose his license.

In another pre-hearing settlement, Pedicab driver Gary Smith had his license suspended until he shows proof that he has paid all of his outstanding fines. He chose to proceed without a legal representative.

City records show that he has $1,786 in unpaid fines, but he claims that he has paid them in full. He didn’t have the receipts to prove his case with him, but he claimed that he had them at home.

Smith has been before the Tribunal on other occasions, and is now on probation for two years. He must report any charges or convictions under the Highway Traffic Act and Municipal Code within three business days, and must present an updated driving record abstract on each of the next two renewals. If the City has any concerns, he can be brought before the Tribunal again.

In a different matter, the City’s case against a holder of a laundry license was withdrawn because the report that was a concern to the City was “made in error”. The City did not disclose the nature of the mistake that led to the applicant being brought before the Tribunal.

The Tribunal also granted an adjournment to Ashfaq Ahmad, who is on the waiting list to receive a new taxicab plate issued by the City. He was allowed additional time to get better documentation for his case. Taxicab drivers must work full-time in order to stay on the list, and a driver can be removed from the list if they don’t work and don’t demonstrate that they were not working due to an illness.


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