Taxi driver loses appeal over fare assault
A TAXI driver who sewed his mouth shut in protest at being convicted of assaulting a woman passenger has lost his appeal.
Hassan Hoviat-Doust, 43, of Brentry, was accused of assaulting passenger Roxana Massoumi in July last year but pleaded not guilty.
Prosecutors said Hoviat-Doust had argued with her about a fare before trouble flared.
Ms Massoumi was said to have called his taxi office to complain before Hoviat-Doust – pictured above right – then became abusive towards her.
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Prosecutors say he then assaulted her by stopping the taxi, taking her out of the vehicle, leaving her on the ground and driving off.
Hoviat-Doust maintains that he asked Ms Massoumi to leave his taxi because she was being abusive towards him. He claims she continued to call the control room so he went to her side and opened the door but she ignored him by turning away from him and continuing to speak on the phone.
Hoviat-Doust claims that he tapped Ms Massoumi on the shoulder and asked her to leave the taxi, which she eventually did.
He was convicted after trial at magistrates' court and was given an eight-week community order, a tagged curfew between 7pm and 7am and ordered to pay £200 compensation to his victim, plus £620 court costs.
The result of the conviction was the loss of his taxi licence, which he says means he is unable to support his wife and two small children.
Yesterday the taxi driver lost an appeal against conviction at Bristol Crown Court.
Recorder Richard Mahwinney, who heard evidence from both sides, said the appeal panel deemed the conviction was correct and was especially impressed by independent witness Peter Drury, whose account backed up the passenger's.
The result was that Hoviat-Doust, who has completed his community order, will have to pay the original costs and compensation as well as an additional £415 appeal cost. He was also ordered to hand over original evidence documents.
After his conviction the driver spent three days outside Bristol Magistrates' Court with his mouth sewn up, writing down what he wanted to say and displaying banners claiming his evidence had not been considered during his trial.
Yesterday Hoviat-Doust continued to protest his innocence after losing the appeal, telling the Post: "It was definitely an injustice and I will fight on for justice."
A city council spokesman confirmed that Hoviat-Doust's licence had been suspended by the council following his conviction.