A man has been banned from driving for a year after falling off his e-scooter in Hyde Park and breaking his dog's leg. Ramin Jabbari, who sells e-scooters through his Edinco website, pleaded guilty to driving a vehicle over the legal alcohol limit and with no insurance and said he didn’t realise it was illegal to ride privately-owned e-scooters in public.
The Mail reports how Jabbari drank wine at a friend's house on Boxing Day last year before setting off home to Camden on his e-scooter.
He told Westminster Magistrates' Court that he was carrying his dog in a bag because it was raining.
At around 9.30pm, a member of the public heard the dog cry out in pain near West Carriage Road in Hyde Park and rushed over. She found Jabbari standing near a traffic island having fallen off his e-scooter.
In a statement, the woman said: “The male was stood with both of his hands on his hip and looking at a dog which was inside a bag that was attached to the scooter.
“It was dark, raining and freezing cold. I was concerned for the dog and for him. I said that I heard his dog screaming and did he need any help.
“He said he had lost his balance and that he had fallen off his scooter and broken his tooth. I said he'd need medical attention. He was struggling to stand because of what appeared to be intoxication.
“I said, 'Have you checked if your dog is ok?' Due to the state of the dog, I checked on it as I was really concerned.
“He became hostile and dismissive and told me to leave him alone. I was still concerned for the dog so I crouched down to touch it and he said, 'Don't touch my dog'.
“I realised his behaviour was erratic and I turned away very worried. I believed he was drunk or mentally unstable so I called the police.”
Jabbari told police he had been riding his e-scooter with his dog in a bag and had fallen off. Officers said had a slurred voice and appeared confused and intoxicated and they duly breathalysed him.
A roadside breath test was positive and in custody he was found to have 50 micrograms of alcohol in 100 millilitres of breath with the legal limit being 35.
Jabbari was charged and interviewed. The prosecution said he was asked a series of questions, “and he didn't answer most of them.”
A ban on riding e-scooters on UK roads and cycle lanes was partially lifted in July last year to allow for trials of rented scooters covered by a motor vehicle insurance policy. However, the use of privately owned e-scooters on pavements or public roads remains illegal.
Representing himself, Jabbari said: “Unfortunately, I really didn't know it's against the law to drive an electric scooter.
“I've been driving for five years and I've never had a ticket. I've never been in trouble. I've been here for 10 years. I've worked hard. I've never been in trouble.
“I'm really sorry that it happened. The thing that the woman said – I was in concussion, I was in a semi-conscious state. It was a bit of the alcohol, it was the shock from the incident.”
Jabbari asked magistrates to allow him to keep his driving licence. He argued that he has a warehouse in Clacton-On-Sea, Essex from which he also sells eco-friendly charcoal toothbrush heads and often needs to bring stock back.
“I know, sincerely, I'm guilty and I know that, but it will never happen again,” he said.
However, the magistrates’ chair, Gay Cheyne, told him: “You were on the road on a motor vehicle and you now know the laws that apply to road users apply to you.
“You have acknowledged that and pleaded guilty. We are obliged to disqualify you from driving for 12 months.”
Asked why Jabbari wasn’t also facing a charge for injuring his dog, the prosecution explained: “There is a high threshold with the Animal's Act. It has to be more than being reckless or being stupid.
“You might think he's pretty stupid for putting a dog in a bag in a scooter while drunk, but there isn't a law I can think of that would fit that.”
Jabbari said he would take a driving rehabilitation course to cut the disqualification by 13 weeks. He was also fined £285.