A DISTRAUGHT dad is demanding an inquiry after discovering that a taxi driver who tied up his disabled son in the back of his car is STILL working as a cabbie.
Driver John O’Sullivan was twice convicted of assaulting the profoundly autistic boy while entrusted to take him to school.
Unbelievably, gaunt looking O’Sullivan has been allowed to carry on working as a cabbie by council bosses.
Now the father of the boy – who was just 13 at the time of the attack – has lodged a formal complaint with the licensing authority responsible and has asked police and his MP to investigate.
The dad – who cannot be identified for legal reasons – told The Sun: “I’m absolutely horrified and disgusted by this entire situation.
“This guy is a complete lowlife who tied up a vulnerable disabled child and for some crazy reason is still be allowed to drive a taxi.
“He should never be allowed to get behind the wheel of a cab again.
“What happened to my son was appalling and it affected his behaviour so much that he has now had to go into full-time care. We can’t control his behaviour anymore.”
A secret report into concerns about taxi licensing at South Ribble, Lancs, claims that children as young as five were sexually exploited by cabbies in the borough
The Sun’s exclusive pictures show grey-haired O’Sullivan, 73, getting into a silver Leyland Taxis VW people carrier.The fuming father is demanding that O’Sullivan who assaulted his son in November 2012 is finally taken off the road.
The cabbie was convicted of two counts of assault – but he got away with a fine of just £90 in August 2013 and was ordered by JPs to pay his victim a measly £50 in compensation.
The scandal has come to light just weeks after a secret report into concerns about taxi licensing at South Ribble, Lancashire, was leaked to the media.
In it were claims that children as young as five were sexually exploited by cabbies in the borough after the council failed to run proper background checks on drivers.
Two licensing officers have been suspended by the authority and an independent law firm has been brought in to carry out a full investigation.
The boy, from Lancashire, was being driven to a special school in Southport and O’Sullivan – together with an escort from Lancashire County Council – used to pick him up in a morning and bring him back again later in the day.
The dad said: “What we didn’t know at the time was that the cabbie was driving off, going round the corner and then getting out and strapping my son into the back seat using elasticated luggage straps, the sort you fasten your case to the roof rack with.
“When he arrived at school in Southport he would drive round the back, so no-one could see him, and then untie him.”
O’Sullivan was only found out when a stand-in member of staff in the council’s escort team saw what was happening and reported it.
The deputy head teacher of the child’s school had also become suspicious and waited round the back of the school and witnessed what was going on.
The dad said: “They saw O’Sullivan screaming into my son’s face.”
South Ribble Council is now the subject of an independent inquiry over its handling of the taxi-related abuse allegations.
Records show O’Sullivan surrendered his licence after being convicted by magistrates in South Sefton, Merseyside, in 2013.
But he had it renewed weeks later by the council’s general licensing committee, whose members voted it through unanimously.
It is understood O’Sullivan, who had been suspended by Lancashire County Council from driving schoolchildren immediately after the allegations came to light, surrendered his taxi licence altogether after being convicted.
But within a matter of weeks he applied to renew it and, accompanied by a lawyer, appeared before the council’s general licensing committee in October 2013.
The eight members of the GLC, chaired by Cllr John Rainsbury, heard the evidence and agreed unanimously to approve the licence renewal.
Councillor Margaret Smith, leader of South Ribble Borough Council, said: “Our biggest priority is to protect the public and we treat these matters with the utmost concern.
“Decisions such as these are taken by the General Licensing Committee, a cross-party group of councillors which also has legal representation. They make judgements based on the facts that are available to them at the time.
“We have received a formal complaint in relation to this case and a full investigation is underway.
“We are also currently undergoing a full review of every aspect of our licensing policies and procedures, to ensure that the service is effective going forward.”
However, Cllr Smith herself is now facing calls to step down.
Cllr Paul Wharton has submitted a motion to remove the leader from the position.
He claims other rebel Conservatives have also signed the motion, after growing concerned at her handling of the taxi licensing scandal.
O’Sullivan refused to answer any questions when approached by our Sun reporter at his car.
He remained silent and did not apologise for assaulting the young lad.
As he was about to drive off, O’Sullivan lowered the car window and said: “Don’t knock on my door again.”
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