A Yellowknife taxi driver who continued to drive his cab after being convicted of assaulting a passenger has lost his bid to get back on the road.
Matar Mahamed Mohamud, 49, was convicted of assault causing bodily harm in May following a trial.
After Mohamud picked up a highly intoxicated man in the early hours of July 24, 2017, a dispute about the passenger’s method of payment arose.
Mohamud struck the passenger in the face three times outside the McDonald’s on Old Airport Road, leaving the victim with two black eyes.
Mohamud claimed self-defence.
Under the City of Yellowknife’s Livery Licence By-Law, Chauffer’s Permits – licences to operate a taxis in the city – cannot be renewed or issued to drivers who have committed any Criminal Code offence while on duty as a taxi driver.
On Oct. 10, Mohamud was sentenced to eight-months house arrest for the assault. After being asked by Judge Garth Malakoe, Mohamud said he’d been still been driving his cab up until his sentencing, due to what he said was a misunderstanding of the bylaw.
The City learned of the violation through media reports. Mohamud’s Chauffer’s Permit was later revoked, leading him to appeal the decision before Yellowknife city council at a special council meeting on Monday.
Mohamud asked for a second chance, telling councillors he needed the job to support his family.
“(Mohamud) should have been here many, many months ago,” argued solicitor Michael Woodward on behalf of the city and the Municipal Enforcement Department.
Under the same bylaw, permit-holding drivers who are convicted of a criminal offence must report the conviction to the Senior Administrative officer.
“That did not occur,” said Woodward.” He should have been here following his conviction in May, he failed to do so,” he added.
Citing the seriousness of an assault causing bodily harm conviction – which can carry up to a 10 year sentence – Woodward said Mohumud wasn’t a “fit and proper person to operate a taxi cab in the city of Yellowknife.”
Before council went in-camera to discuss the merits of the appeal, Coun. Cynthia Mufandaedza asked if the city is doing anything to do to protect its cab drivers. “Because I do see that Mohamud was assaulted in a previous incident,” said Mufandaedza.
While driving with passengers in 2015, Mohamud was assaulted and robbed by three individuals.
While the question couldn’t be addressed at the special meeting, Mayor Rebecca Alty said it’s “something we can bring back to the GPC.”
After weighing the appeal for less than half-an-hour, council voted unanimously to dismiss Mohamud’s appeal and uphold the revocation of his permit.
Outside City Hall, Mohamud told Yellowknifer he plans to appeal his criminal conviction in NWT Supreme Court.