Taxi licence veto after racial slur conviction

Stock image: Walter Neilson
Stock image: Walter Neilson

A Fife woman was refused a first time taxi licence at a regulation and licensing committee meeting after she was convicted of using a racial slur.

Miss Kelly Nicol, of 27 Lansdowne Crescent, Kincardine pleaded guilty of using a racial slur towards a bouncer in June after being asked to leave a bar for having consumed too much alcohol.

In support, her manager, Shahzad Arshad, at her current job as a floor supervisor of a Spar shop wrote a character statement, saying: “Kelly has been employed for two years and hasn’t used discriminatory language to customers or staff.”

Miss Nicol said that she couldn’t remember the night in question due to how much alcohol she had consumed and that her lawyer had advised her to plead guilty to the offence.

When asked by the councillors if she believed herself to be guilty of the offence she replied, “no, but because I can’t remember the event, I can’t say for sure”.

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Councillor John Docherty asked how they could be reassured that Miss Nicol wouldn’t behave in a racially abusive manner were she to pick up a restless customer from a different ethnic background.

Miss Nicol replied: “Well I won’t be drunk because I’ll be driving.”

Councillor David Graham  added: “What you need to do is convince us as a committee that if we stick our neck out and give you a licence, that first of all you’re not racist, and secondly what have you learned from the incident?”

“Saying you won’t be drunk isn’t an excuse. I need you to convince me to give you a licence.”

Her mother, Angeline Nicol, who was there in support said: “It was totally out of character for her. Drink isn’t an excuse, but she pleaded guilty as she was advised to.

“She’s not racist, she’s dated people from different backgrounds and isn’t judgemental. She treats everyone the same – if she gets a licence she’ll work for me and treat people the same, regardless of their background.”

Police Scotland representative Sergeant McMillan said that there had been two witnesses to the incident, who reported that Miss Nicol had used the racial slur twice.

Councillor Jane Ann Liston said she was worried Miss Nicol might lose her temper in a similar situation if she was dealing with a difficult customer and asked: “Have you thought seriously about how you might deal in a difficult situation?”

Miss Nicol replied: “I would deal with it like I deal with people in my shop – I would be polite and calm. There’s lots of things you can do.”

Miss Nicol was refused a taxi licence after the council decided she was not a fit and proper person to hold one with eight councillors supporting the motion.