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Uber driver denies violent crime claim by passengers

It is almost a given these days that when a person feels he or she is being wronged, he or she is going to pull out a cellphone and document the incident. While these videos can be helpful when it comes to verifying the facts of a situation, they only show what that person wants seen. When the incident is an apparent violent crime, the evidence can be very damaging to the accused. A Toronto driver-for-hire recently found this out the hard way.

Four female passengers entered an Uber vehicle on August 13, 2016, at around 6:30 p.m. They were travelling from a location near King Street West and Spadina Avenue to the Jack Layton Ferry Terminal. The driver, a 42-year old man, claims the passengers were frustrated because he was unable to pick them up directly in front of their location due to heavy traffic. Traffic slowed down the journey, and the driver reportedly opted for a route that differed from the one the passengers had requested. The trip, which can take about 10 minutes, took an hour, and the driver alleges the passengers were upset about the $17 fare.

According to the passengers, the driver was verbally abusive to them and made racist comments. They also claim he refused their route without reason and drove in an unsafe manner. A cellphone video shot at the end of the trip by one of the women shows the driver pulling another woman out of the car by her arm. The woman in the video reportedly suffered a broken finger and bruises during the alleged assault.

The driver, however, tells a different version of the story. He admits he lost his composure, but the driver claims the women provoked him. He alleges the women damaged his cellphone after he took pictures of them to document the incident and that they went on to slam the vehicle door twice and kick it from the inside, causing damage to the door hinge. Toronto Police arrived after one of the women dialed 911, and the driver was charged with two counts of assault.

For the driver, the arrest has cost him his job and a large portion of his livelihood. Indeed, serious repercussions are a distinct possibility for anyone charged with a violent crime. For someone facing this scenario, a criminal defence attorney may be an invaluable ally.

Source: Metro News, "Toronto Uber driver charged with assault says video doesn't tell whole story", August 17, 2016

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