Macclesfield taxi driver who refused blind woman and guide dog fined

Patricia Powell and Yates with Yogendra Patel Image copyright cheshire east council
Image caption Mrs Powell told the court it was the sixth time she had been refused when Yates was with her

A taxi driver who would not let a blind woman and her dog use his cab has been fined in a "rare" prosecution using a Victorian law.

John Mycroft, 55, of Brocklehurst Way, Macclesfield refused a fare to Patricia Powell and Yates in the town in April.

He was identified by a second taxi driver who agreed to take Mrs Powell.

He admitted refusing a passenger without reasonable cause under the 1847 Town Police Clauses Act and was ordered to pay £785.

Speaking after the conclusion of the case at Macclesfield Magistrates' Court, a Guide Dogs spokesman said successful legal pursuits were "very rare" because of the difficulty identifying offenders.

The prosecution was brought by Cheshire East Council.

A council spokesman said Mrs Powell had been trying to get a taxi home on 24 April after a shopping trip.

He said when she approached Mycroft's taxi accompanied by golden retriever Yates and shop security officer Yogendra Patel, who was helping with her bags, the taxi driver told her: "I'm not taking the dog, get in the next taxi."

'Regrets decision'

Mrs Powell, who has been registered blind for 18 years, told the court he had left her feeling "frustrated and discriminated against".

She said it was the sixth time she had been refused a taxi because she had Yates with her.

"Luckily, in this case there was another taxi available to carry me but it worries me that this may have occurred at night when I was on my own and I could have been left in a dangerous situation," she said.

Mrs Powell complained to council after she returned home and the authority took statement from the second taxi driver and Mr Patel.

When questioned by the council, Mycroft said he had not wanted to miss out on a pre-booked job and was looking for a customer who was only making a short journey.

The council spokesman said that in court, Mycroft's defence counsel, Mr Stephen Rodgers, said the taxi driver "accepts he should have taken Mrs Powell and her dog and he regrets the decision he made".

Mycroft was fined £100 and ordered to pay prosecution costs of £665 and a victim's surcharge of £20.

The Guide Dogs spokesman said he was "delighted that Cheshire East Council has taken action on this issue".

"We hope that this case will help remind other drivers and service providers of their duties."

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