Slough councillor Balwinder Dhillon accused by Metropolitan Police, working with City of London Police, of taxi touting in central London on Saturday 26 February 2011, has been remanded on unconditional bail until a morning-long hearing at the City Magistrates Court on 16 June.
Cllr Dhillon told the Slough Times:-
Regardless of how much this costs me, I am determined to prove
my innocence and clear my name.
He added how stressful the police charges have been and said:-
I feel I am being bullied by the police. I want the truth to come
Of the three police officers at the scene, the Slough Times believes one officer has declined to give evidence against Cllr Dhillon and that another, a sergeant, said he did not hear what was allegedly said by Cllr Dhillon at the time Cllr Dhillon was allegedly 'taxi touting'.
Cllr Dhillon's version of events is he was asking directions to a nearby location, one of three sites used by the private car company he recently started working for.
Staff at Slough Council told the Slough Times they can not believe the police charges against Cllr Dhillon are true.
Balwinder Dhillon retired from Slough Borough Council in May 2011, after 7 years as a local councillor.
On 16 June 2011, Mr Dhillon was tried at City Magistrates Court, central London, for taxi-touting and driving without proper insurance because his private-hire motor insurance was considered invalid due to his alleged 'taxi-touting'.
The Slough Times was not present at the trial. We have spoken several times to persons present during the trial. This is our report based upon what we were told.
Four police officers, two constables and one sergeant from the Metropolitan Police and one constable from the City of London Police, all white, gave evidence against Mr Dhillon.
Mr Dhillon had been arrested by the 3 Met officers and taken to a City of London police station at Snow Hill where a City of London officer from Bishop's Gate police station got involved and formerly questioned Mr Dhillon.
For over 2.1/2 hours the four police officers were expertly cross-examined by Mr Dhillon's experienced barrister. The 3 Met officers gave what one witness said were 'copy-cat' statements. Each 'independent' account from those police officers, who were sworn to tell the truth, allegedly contained the same material mistakes. So too, it is claimed, did part of the sworn evidence of the City of London police constable.
At one moment during the trial, the lay magistrates intervened to stop Mr Dhillon's barrister questioning a police officer. The barrister advised the magistrates of doubtful competence they were, in law, wrong. The clerk to the court confirmed the accuracy of the barrister's knowledgeable assertion then the questioning of the police witness continued.
Material inaccuracies were said to have been discovered in the police's version of events. If this is correct, why did the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) allow the prosecution to proceed ? Did the CPS check properly the accuracy and veracity of the police statements ? If not, why not ?
The final blow to the police's case came when Mr Dhillon's barrister, addressing the court, explained the legal definition of 'taxi-touting'. Mr Dhillon's innocent action of asking a stranger standing in a street where the 'Bar & Gill' was, was never anything remotely like the actions of a real 'taxi-tout'.
Witnesses called by Mr Dhillon's legal team included the private hire service's manager who had been awaiting Mr Dhillon's arrival at the nearby 'Bar & Grill'.
Questions arise about the conduct of the Metropolitan Police allowing their officers on to the streets seeking 'taxi-touters' when those police officers were apparently unaware of the important case law definition of 'taxi-touting'. Was this a failure of Met Police management or a desire by Met Police officers to arrest people regardless of their innocence or guilt ?
Other questions arise whether any of those four police officers conspired to create copy-cat versions of the same evidence and, if so, was that action a de facto Conspiracy to Pervert the Course of Justice and, ultimately, did any of those four police officers commit perjury ?
We do not know the answers to our questions. The police conduct could have been honest and exemplary. We have sought the assistance of both the City of London Police and the Metropolitan Police to clarify these muddled matters.
Mr Dhillon told us:-
I am very happy and delighted it is all over.
I never thought the police would be so ruthless to make-up
stories and lies.
Because I could afford to pay expensive legal costs, I was
able to get a specialist barrister to prove my innocence. I am very surprised
the duty solicitor at the police station was unable to give me best
Many people are unable to fight 'police evidence' because
they can not afford to pay for good legal representation including an
City of London Police and the Crown Prosecution Service had a month to appeal against Mr Dhillon's innocent verdict. They have not done so, so Mr Dhillon's acquittal is official.
The magistrates court awarded Mr Dhillon his legal expenses which exceed £5,000. Just who pays the bill ? The answer is ultimately the public whose taxes fund the police.
Mr Dhillon has not received an apology from either the City of London Police or from the Metropolitan Police.
The Slough Times wonders how many similar cases exist particularly when charged persons failed to get good legal representation to challenge the police's alleged truthful evidence.