A TAXI DRIVER who helped people escape the terrorist attack on London Bridge last year has been prosecuted for running a red light as they fled the scene.
Ryan Barney (31) was ordered to pay £270 in fines and court costs to Transport for London (TfL) and given three penalty points on his driving licence after he was photographed by a traffic enforcement camera.
Mr Barney said the incident occurred shortly after he finished his work shift on 3 June 2017.
He had seen a news report describing how Khuram Butt, Rachid Redouanne and Youssef Zaghba had killed eight pedestrians in the London Bridge and Borough Market area and went to help as many as possible escape the murder scene. Mr Barney picked up a number of terrified passers-by and was driving them home to East London when he was caught by a traffic light enforcement camera.
The black cab driver was given three points and fined £160 but hoped that an appeal to TfL, explaining the circumstances of the incident, would be successful.
Instead, the licensing authority took Mr Barney to court and ordered him to pay another £110 in legal fees. The father-of-two accepts he was in the wrong but had hoped that TfL would be more lenient, as he was helping people to escape a terrorist attack.
I pleaded guilty and took the three points, as I had just about jumped the red light as they were changing, but I explained my actions in mitigation. I was just doing it to get as many people away as possible. No knew what was going on or if they would be more attacks.
At the time there were a lot of different reports and there appeared to be many incidents happening all over London. There was a lot of chaos and confusion.
“The police were saying, ‘Run, hide and tell!’ but all the messages seemed to be getting crossed.
“I saw after the Manchester attack that cab drivers had turned off their meters and were just doing all they could to help, so I thought I would try and do my bit as well.”
Mr Barney was caught by the red light junction at the junction of Commercial Road and East India Dock Road in Poplar, East London and after appealing the fine, was shocked to see TfL chase him for further costs.
The case was sent to Lavender Hill Magistrates and the taxi driver was ordered to pay a £160 fine, plus a further £110 court costs.
Mr Barney added:
It happened at a crossroads, it wasn’t particularly dangerous, no one was about at the time and the lights were only just changing as I went through. I pleaded guilty, I wasn’t trying to get away with it. But, they just didn’t take the situation into account and just went by the book.
“There should have been some consideration of the circumstances but they just acted as if it was a normal situation and handed out the normal punishment without even looking at the reasons. I’ve had a speeding fine before and that’s understandable, but this was a pretty unique situation.”