Agenda item

Agenda item


To consider a confidential report by the Head of Planning and Public Protection (copy enclosed) seeking members’ review of a licence to drive hackney carriage and private hire vehicles in respect of Driver No. 15/0269/TXJDR.


RESOLVED that the hackney carriage and private hire vehicle driver’s licence issued to Driver No. 15/0269/TXJDR be revoked on public safety grounds with immediate effect.


[Councillor Barry Mellor declared a personal interest because he knew two of the witnesses in this case and he left the meeting during consideration of this item.]


A confidential report by the Head of Planning and Public Protection (previously circulated) was submitted upon –


(i)        the suitability of Driver No. 15/0269/TXJDR to hold a licence to drive hackney carriage and private hire vehicles following a complaint of road rage;


(ii)       details of the complaint having been provided (a summary of facts together with associated witness statements and documentation having been attached to the report);


(iii)      the Driver having previously appeared before the Licensing Committee on 10 June 2015 and the outcome of that case, and


(iv)      the Driver having been invited to attend the meeting in support of his licence review and to answer members’ questions thereon.


The Driver was in attendance at the meeting with his Legal Representative and confirmed receipt of the report and committee procedures.


The Enforcement Officer (TB) outlined the case as detailed within the report.


The Legal Representative advised that the Driver did not dispute the majority of the allegations in the witness statements and had accepted his conduct during interview.  He detailed the circumstances leading up to the incident which had involved the manoeuvre of a tanker at a junction.  Following the manoeuvre the Driver had dropped off his passengers and had gone back to see the tanker driver to raise the manner of his driving.  However the tanker driver refused to speak to him and walked away and it was at that point he swore at him.  There had been no intention to argue but the manner in which the tanker driver reacted had made him lose his temper.  The Driver admitted that he had acted inappropriately and had offered a handshake three times.  He fully acknowledged his behaviour was unacceptable and the seriousness of the situation and was very remorseful.  Whilst the Driver had been before the committee in June 2015 the nature of the case had been different and the Driver had also accepted his guilt on that occasion.  Examples as to the Driver’s good character were provided and members were advised that he had been previously licensed outside of the area and had held an unblemished record.  Details of the Driver’s personal circumstances were also given which may have affected his reaction to a certain degree and it was argued that to lose his licence would cause financial hardship. 


Members took the opportunity to question the Driver on his interview statement and his version of events and queried what he expected to gain from his actions.  The Driver advised that he had been unprepared for the interview as he had not been advised of the nature of the complaint but when pressed he confirmed he had an idea about what it would have been about.  He elaborated upon the incident from his perspective advising that he felt bullied by the tanker driver and wanted to question him on the manner of his driving but he had been provoked and lost his temper and in hindsight admitted that he would not take that action again.  He disputed that he had been ushered off the premises and had tried to apologise at the time.  As a licensed driver he regularly witnessed numerous traffic incidents without retaliation and submitted that this case was an isolated incident which would not be repeated in the future.


In his final statement the Legal Representative reiterated that the Driver did not intend an argument when he went back to see the tanker driver and he was genuinely remorseful about what had occurred.  The Driver had learned from the experience and would act differently if faced with similar circumstances in the future.  It was submitted that there had been no other incidents of this nature and the Driver was not prone to road rage and he was willing to personally apologise to the tanker driver concerned.  At no time had the Driver sought to dispute his involvement about what happened but had regretted his actions and acknowledged that his behaviour was unacceptable.  When considering sanctions the committee was asked not to revoke the licence but if members were minded to suspend the licence then it should be proportionate.


The committee adjourned to consider the case and it was –


RESOLVED that the hackney carriage and private hire vehicle driver’s licence issued to Driver No. 15/0269/TXJDR be revoked on public safety grounds with immediate effect.


The reasons for the Licensing Committee’s decision were as follows –


Members carefully considered the evidence presented in this case together with the explanation provided by the Driver in mitigation and in response to questions.  Whilst members felt the Driver had accepted and regretted his wrongdoing they did not consider his version of events to be entirely credible and believed he had gone to see the tanker driver to confront him. The Driver’s manner and demeanor in responding to questions together with the incident itself led the committee to believe that he struggled to control his anger and questioned his train of thought given his rationale in deliberately going back to confront the tanker driver after the road incident was over instead of considering another course of action such as reporting the incident.  The committee had not been persuaded that it was an isolated incident and could take no assurance that the incident would not be repeated in the future in similar circumstances which placed members of the public at risk.  The Driver’s integrity was also in question given his initial claims that he had no idea about what his interview had been about.  The committee’s overriding consideration was for public safety and they had a duty to protect the travelling public from a Driver who clearly exhibited a capacity to lose his temper, return to the scene of an incident which was over, and use foul and abusive language and had to be asked to leave the premises.  Members also noted that the Driver had disregarded a previous warning as to his future conduct given a mere fifteen months previously and his conduct reflected badly on the trade and the council.  Consequently the committee felt that the Driver was not fit and proper and did not possess the requisite characteristics to be a licensed driver and it was resolved to revoke the licence with immediate effect on the grounds of public safety.  The committee disregarded the effect revocation or suspension would have on his livelihood and family circumstances since it was not a relevant consideration when looking at his character and fitness as a driver.


The committee’s decision and reasons therefore were conveyed to the Driver and he was advised as to a right of appeal to the Magistrates Court within 21 days.


The meeting concluded at 11.45 a.m.


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