Taxi driver convcited of beating pedestrians can keep his licence
A TAXI driver who was convicted of beating two pedestrians has been allowed to keep his private hire licence.
Marius Betean, aged 32, was convicted by Plymouth magistrates earlier this year of attacking the men in Plymouth city centre after last year's Bonfire Night fireworks.
He was ordered to pay £200 in costs, £750 in compensation and to do 60 hours of unpaid work.
Mr Betean told the city council taxi licensing committee yesterday that two men who he believed were drunk had walked in front of his taxi.
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He beeped his horn as he drove off and something was thrown at his car.
The altercation broke out when he came back to make sure he could identify the two men, he said.
Mr Betean came to Britain four years ago from Romania and has worked as a self-employed taxi driver since.
He said that another similar incident had meant that he had to take his taxi off the road for four days for repairs.
Licensing officer Mark Small asked whether that previous experience had led to him losing his temper in the November 2011 incident.
Colin Trevethan from Taxifirst, told councillors that the company stood by Mr Betean.
He read out letters of support from customers. "If we thought that Marius was a danger to any of our customers or to the public I wouldn't be here today supporting him."
He said taxi drivers frequently encountered problems with the public. "If we called the police every time you would need 100 more police on the streets on a Saturday night.
Mr Betean told the committee: "I deeply regret what happened." In any future incident he would call the police rather than dealing with it himself, he said.
The committee put a warning on Mr Betean's file. This will be taken into account if there is any future complaint against him.
Committee chairman Cllr David Haydon said: "We do appreciate what a taxi driver goes through."