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A MIDDLESBOROUGH taxi driver has been found guilty of causing grievous bodily harm to a 17 year old student.

Teeside Crown Court heard that the teenager had been attacked by Raza Hussein (under blanket in picture above) after he had enjoyed a night out with friends at the Empire Club in Middlesborough city centre.

Prosecution counsel Harry Hadfield said the group hailed Mr Hussein’s taxi and that the journey was uneventful, until a, “discussion over the fare” arose.

He added: “Some money fell to the floor of the taxi and the interior light went on inside the vehicle. This appeared to irk the defendant. The driver told them to turn the light off and the mood in the taxi changed.”

The student found himself alone in Mr Hussein’s taxi after his friends were dropped off and according to Mr Hadfield: “Assured the driver he had enough money to pay he fare.

But, Mr Hadfield added:

The defendant then jumped out of the car, opened the passenger door and lunged into the back of the taxi where he grabbed the victim by the throat. He then punched him in the face around four times, breaking the cheekbone in the process.

The court was told that Hussein only stopped hitting the student when another taxi stopped to see what was going on. The victim called the police and then took himself to the James Cook University Hospital.

In mitigation, defence counsel Robert Mockray said Hussein was: “A family man who had an unblemished career, serving the community as a taxi driver and who thought he was acting out of self defence.

“Mr Hussein has been regularly subjected to racial and sometimes violent abuse with passengers in the past and this assault may have been a reaction of a man who had been tested time and time again.

“He is genuinely remorseful for what happened and never deliberately set out to cause that level of injury.”

Hussein was found guilty of inflicting grievous bodily harm and judge Tony Briggs sentenced him to 12 months in prison, suspended for two years.

He was ordered to pay £500 costs and must also undertake 150 hours of paid community work.

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