Former Yellowknife taxi driver loses appeal to regain permit after 2017 assault

Matar Mahamed Mahamud lost the appeal to reinstate his chauffeur's permit after he was found guilty of beating up a passenger in July 2017.

'He’s not a fit and proper person to operate a taxi cab in the city of Yellowknife,' says city solicitor

'I am [a] good person. I need another chance to support my family,' Matar Mahamed Mahamud said at a special city council meeting in Yellowknife on Monday. (Gabriela Panza-Beltrandi/CBC)

A Yellowknife cab driver that made headlines for beating up a passenger in 2017 will not be allowed to continue operating a taxi in the city.

Matar Mahamed Mahamud lost an appeal to reinstate his chauffeur's permit — which allows people to operate taxis in the city — at a special council meeting on Monday.

"I need another chance for my chauffeur permit. That is my second chance," said Mahamud.

Mahamud was convicted in May of assault causing bodily harm following an incident in July 2017, when he attacked a passenger who could not pay his fare because he only had a debit card.

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

Mahamud was sentenced in October to eight months of house arrest and one year probation. 

Under city bylaws, a chauffeur's permit will not "be issued to any person who has been convicted under the Criminal Code of Canada of … any offence while on duty as a taxi driver."

Drivers are required to report any convictions to the city's senior administrative officer, but Mahamud never did that. His permit wasn't revoked until October, after the city learned of his conviction through local media.

Failing to report a conviction is grounds to cancel a driver's permit immediately, according to the bylaw.

City solicitor Michael Woodward said Mahamud 'has shown himself to be ungovernable by failing to comply with the bylaw.' (Gabriela Panza-Beltrandi/CBC)

"We should have been here many, many months ago," said Michael Woodward, a solicitor for the city, during Monday's meeting.

Woodward said Mahamud should have reported his conviction as soon as it happened.

"[Mahamud] has shown himself to be ungovernable by failing to comply with the bylaw," said Woodward.

"He's not a fit and proper person to operate a taxi cab in the city of Yellowknife."

Woodward also pointed to Mahamud's version of events of the attack. According to court documents, Mahamud claimed the passenger pushed him to the ground and kicked him.

However, testimony from a witness said Mahamud punched the victim while he was lying on the ground, and Mahamud's evidence was rejected by the judge.

Despite this, in an Oct. 31 letter appealing the revocation of his chauffeur's permit, Mahamud wrote, "[My passenger] grabbed me and then he fell down."

"It appears that that fictitious version of events is going to be continued," Woodward said.

In his appeal to the City of Yellowknife, Mahamud wrote that the victim 'grabbed me and then he fell down' in the 2017 assault. (City of Yellowknife)

'I need another chance'

In addressing city council, Mahamud maintained that he was innocent and accused his victim of lying about the attack.

"I'm a victim," he said.

"I am [a] good person. I need another chance to support my family until I get something, [a] different job."

Coun. Niels Konge asked Mahamud if he had been told he was required to report any criminal convictions to the city when he first received his chauffeur's permit.

Mahamud said that yes, he had been told.

After discussing the matter behind closed doors, councillors voted unanimously not to reinstate Mahamud's permit.

Mahamud said he plans to fight his criminal conviction in N.W.T. Supreme Court.