The Assistant Director of Community Protection submitted an exempt report in connection with an application for a Private Hire Vehicle Driver Licence, Ref: 18/12, where circumstances had arisen which required special consideration by the Committee.
The Chair introduced those present and outlined the procedure to be followed. The applicant was in attendance at the meeting and verified his name and address and confirmed that he had received a copy of the report.
The Principal Licensing Officer presented the report setting out the circumstances of the case relating to the offences detailed at (1) to (5) in the submitted report. The Principal Licensing Officer clarified that the driver had completed the Driver Improvement Scheme on 15 October 2010.
The applicant advised that three of the points listed in the Committee report had occurred before he was licensed as a Private Hire Vehicle Driver otherwise he confirmed that the report was an accurate representation of the facts.
The applicant presented his case and responded to questions from Members of the Committee, the Principal Licensing Officer and the Councils legal representative.
In response to a query regarding whether the applicant had been ordered to pay any costs to the Council as a result of losing his subsequent appeal to the Teesside Magistrates Court against the Licensing Committees decision to refuse his previous application on 12 December 2011, the applicant advised that he was not aware that he had been required to pay costs and that he had not received any paperwork with regard to payment of them.
The Principal Licensing Officer advised Members that full costs of £279 had been awarded against the applicant to be repaid at £20 per week and he clarified whether the applicant had been present at the court hearing. The applicant confirmed that he was present at the court hearing and stated that his solicitor had advised that he would receive a letter explaining everything to him.
The Principal Licensing Officer subsequently made enquiries with the Magistrates Court and the Councils Legal section and advised that the procedure for the collection of fines and costs had been amended the previous year. The Magistrates Court were unable to enforce the payment of the above and as a consequence a decision had been made for the Council to liaise with defendants with regard to the payment of fees or costs and for the Council to carry out any subsequent recovery action.
The Chair of the Committee advised that Members should make a decision on all the information contained in the report however as there was some doubt whether the applicant had received any notification regarding the payment of costs then Members should not take into consideration the non payment of costs when making a decision.
It was confirmed that there were no further questions and the applicant and officers of the Council, other than representatives of the Councils Legal Services and Members Office, withdrew whilst the Committee determined the application.
ORDERED that the application for Private Hire Vehicle Driver Licence, Ref: 18/12, be refused as all of the Members did not consider the applicant to be a fit and proper person to drive a Private Hire Vehicle for the following reasons:-
1. The applicant had accrued a total of 15 points on his licence over a period of three years as a licensed driver;
2. Members did not consider the applicant to be a safe driver in light of his convictions for speeding and the use
of a mobile phone whilst driving;
3. The applicant had previously been issued with two warnings in 2008 and 2010 with regard to his future
4. That despite the applicant having undertaken the Driver Improvement Scheme the assessor had indicated
that there was still room for improvement particularly in relation to speed and safety issues.
Members made their decision in line with the Council's Guidance on Convictions which states that "a significant history of offences showing a disregard for safety may result in the application being refused or licence revoked unless a period of at least 1-3 years, free from conviction, has elapsed, since the date of the last conviction or reinstatement of the DVLA licence, whichever is the later. The driver's licence was restored in April 2011, which was just over one year ago and Members considered that this time period was insufficient for the applicant to demonstrate that he was a safe driver.
The applicant was reminded of his right of appeal to the Magistrates Court within 21 days of the decision.