Agenda item

Agenda item


To consider a confidential report by the Head of Planning, Public Protection and Countryside Services (copy enclosed) seeking members’ determination of an application to drive hackney carriage and private hire vehicles from Applicant No. 553562.


RESOLVED that the application for a hackney carriage and private hire vehicle driver’s licence from Applicant No. 553562 be granted.


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


(i)            an application having been received from Applicant No. 553562 for a licence to drive hackney carriage and private hire vehicles;


(ii)          officers having referred the application to the Licensing Committee for determination given the particular circumstances of the case;


(iii)         the Applicant having appealed to the Magistrates Court against revocation of their licence to drive hackney carriage and private hire vehicles in July 2019 due to an alleged wounding offence, with the charge subsequently closed by the Crown Court in October 2019 and the Applicant not convicted of any offence;


(iv)         the Magistrates Court having issued a consent order agreeing the appeal be set aside and the Applicant be permitted to apply to the licensing authority for a new licence where all matters would be considered afresh;


(v)          further information concerning the application including the Applicant’s licensed driver history and all other routine checks completed satisfactorily together with character references submitted by the Applicant;


(vi)         the Council’s policy with regard to the suitability of applicants, and


(vii)        the Applicant having been invited to attend the meeting in support of their application and to answer members’ questions thereon.


The Applicant confirmed they had received the report and committee procedures.


The Public Protection Business Manager submitted the report and facts of the case.


The Applicant explained the events surrounding the alleged wounding offence which they strenuously denied together with the following legal processes and detrimental effect on their personal life.  They were keen to regain their licence and return to the profession that they loved and to provide for their family.  The Applicant responded to questions raised by members with a view to ascertaining their suitability to hold a licence confirming that they had not been working at the time the incident had occurred, they had not been involved in any previous incidents of that nature and had no anger management issues.  They stressed their regret over the incident and provided assurances that they had always been, and continued to be, a fit and proper person to hold a licence.  In their final statement the Applicant urged members to grant their application to enable them to work and provide for their family.


The Committee adjourned to consider the application and it was –


RESOLVED that the application for a hackney carriage and private hire vehicle driver’s licence from Applicant No. 553562 be granted.


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


Members had carefully considered the particular circumstances of the case as set out in the report together with the Applicant’s submissions and response to questions.  Members had also considered the relevant sections of the Council’s Statement of Policy regarding the suitability of applicants and licensees in the hackney carriage and private hire trades.


In particular the Committee considered section 4.12 of the policy which provided that matters which had not resulted in a criminal conviction would be taken into account and any reference in relation to “conviction” in the policy included matters that amounted to criminal behaviour but had not resulted in a conviction, and section 4.31 which provided that for offences involving/connected with violence a licence would not be granted until at least 10 years had elapsed since completion of any sentence imposed.  The Committee concluded that the Applicant had not been convicted of any offence (indeed considered that a Crown Court criminal trial into the offence of wounding had resulted in the applicant being acquitted) but considered, on balance, that an altercation had taken place between the Applicant and another person.  The Committee also accepted the Applicant’s version of the events in relation to the incident, including the representations concerning provocation and mitigation and their denial of the specific wounding allegation.


Given the clear above policy provision, the Committee then considered section 3.19 of the same policy that provided a policy provision should only be departed from in exceptional circumstances and for justifiable reasons.


Having found that the Applicant had not ultimately been convicted of any offence with regards to the altercation and having heard from the Applicant the circumstances surrounding the incident, and taking into account the Applicant’s previous driving history and character references provided, the Committee was satisfied that the Applicant was a fit and proper person to hold a licence. The Committee concluded therefore that there were exceptional circumstances and justifiable reasons, namely criminal court acquittal relating to the incident notwithstanding that was for the offence of wounding and not wider violence offences, under section 3.19 of the policy to make a departure from the provision in section 4.31 and grant the application.


The Committee’s decision was conveyed to the Applicant.


The meeting concluded at 10.50 am.


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