Yellowknife taxi driver gets house arrest, probation for attacking passenger

Matar Mahamed Mahamud, who beat up one of his passengers in July 2017, has been sentenced to eight months of house arrest and one year of probation for the attack.

Matar Mahamed Mahamud has continued to drive a cab since his conviction in May

Matar Mahamed Mahamud was convicted in May of assault causing bodily harm, for attacking a passenger on July 24, 2017. His sentencing hearing was held in Yellowknife on Wednesday. (Walter Strong/CBC)

A Yellowknife cab driver who beat up one of his passengers has been sentenced to eight months of house arrest and one year of probation.

Matar Mahamed Mahamud was convicted in May of assault causing bodily harm for the attack, which happened on July 24, 2017.

During Mahamud's trial, the male passenger testified the driver became angry when he told him he had no cash or credit card. The passenger said Mahamud's anger did not subside when he offered to pay in cash if the driver would take him to an ATM.

A witness testified she heard scuffling at the entrance to an apartment building, then saw Mahamud stand over the passenger and punch him three times in the face as the passenger was lying on the ground.

The victim was left with two black eyes and a concussion.

At Mahamud's sentencing hearing on Wednesday, the prosecutor and judge said they could not conclude the concussion was a result of the assault.

Both also agreed the sentence must take into account that the driver will lose his ability to drive a cab in the city.

Cab drivers expected to report convictions

The city bylaw that sets out the rules for licensing taxi drivers says no permit to drive a cab will be issued or renewed for anyone who has been convicted of a crime while on duty. However, the city relies on taxi drivers to report any convictions to the city's senior administrative officer.

"Has he been driving cab up to this point?" territorial court Judge Garth Malakoe asked during the sentencing hearing.

"Yes," said Mahamud's lawyer, Leslie Moore. "He thought he could continue driving, but it appears the bylaw says he can't."

Mahamud was driving for Aurora Taxi at the time of the assault.

Malakoe said his sentence takes into account that Mahamud was himself the victim of an attack from passengers in 2015. Mahamud suffered a broken jaw and lost several teeth after a man in the front seat punched him in the face, while the man's brother choked Mahamud from the back seat.

Malakoe said that attack reduced Mahamud's moral blameworthiness for the assault he committed.