Published: 10:01, 20 May 2014
A former Ashford cabbie has been cleared of injuring a man in a road accident three days before Christmas 2012.
Rofiqul Khan, 32, had been accused of causing injury after driving his Fiat Scudo dangerously when Robert Johnson, from Maidstone, caught his hand in the cab door in Station Road.
Canterbury Crown Court heard how Mr Johnson was dragged along the road until he lost his balance and fell under the taxi's wheels.
After the incident on December 22 Mr Johnson was taken to the William Harvey Hospital’s A&E Department with severe injuries.
He has now been left wheelchair-bound and is “profoundly physically disabled” and because of a brain injury is unlikely ever to make a full recovery.
Doctors discovered that part of his brain had been broken into tiny pieces and his injuries were such that in March last year he was transferred to a medical centre in Hildenborough.
Prosecutor Martin Yale told the jury that: “Mr Johnson was diagnosed with a traumatic brain injury and in March last year was in a permanent vegetative state, unable to communicate or respond to verbal commands.
“His condition in March was stable but he was non-responsive to any verbal or painful stimulus.
"His brain injury is described as ‘very severe’ and his prognosis ‘poor’.
“He was deemed unlikely to regain full level of consciousness and even if he recovers it was expected that he would be left profoundly disabled.”
Eight months later doctors reported his level of consciousness had “improved considerably” but he is unlikely to ever be able to care for himself independently.
The prosecutor said: “Mr Johnson was now conscious and able to respond to verbal commands.
"However, he is partially sighted and unable to stand or walk independently.”
Khan, of Hurst Road, Kennington, had denied the charge and said he had picked up two brothers, Daniel and Matthew Moss, in the early hours of the morning to take them to Stanhope.
As he turned into Station Road, Mr Johnson, who had been with a friend in Dover on the evening of December 21 drinking and taking cocaine, suddenly appeared in the road and tried to wave him down.
The taxi driver told the jury: "This man was trying to stop me with both hands. I said to him on three occasions that I had passengers.
"It was very frustrating what to do because he wasn't listening to me. He kept pulling the handle.
"I didn't know what to do. I then checked my mirrors and just pulled away. I was moving slowly."
The prosecution alleged that Mr Johnson’s hand became stuck in the sliding door and was carried along as Mr Khan accelerated away.
"After a short while I felt something underneath my tyres. It felt as if I was going over something like a bump" - Rofiqul Khan
But the cabbie told the jury that he didn’t see Mr Johnson in his side mirror and assumed he had gone away.
It was only when he went over a bump in the road that he stopped – and was later told his vehicle had run over Mr Johnson.
"After a short while I felt something underneath my tyres. It felt as if I was going over something like a bump."
He said he stopped a short while later and saw a body lying in the road and made two 999 calls.
After the jury’s verdict, Khan was fined £500 and given three penalty points on his driver’s licence after admitting two charges of having defective tyres.
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