Licensing Committee Minutes

Licensing Committee Minutes

Date:
Monday 17 December 2012
Time:
1:30 p.m.
Place:
Mandela Room, Town Hall, Middlesbrough
 

Attendance Details

Present:
Councillor B E Taylor (Chair), Councillor J A Walker (Vice Chair); Councillor R Arundale, Councillor S Biswas, Councillor T Harvey, Councillor R Kerr, Councillor D G Loughborough, Councillor G Purvis and Councillor M B Williams.
Officers:
J Dixon, T Hodgkinson and K Metcalfe.
Apologies for absence:
Councillor R Brady, Councillor M Hudson, Councillor T Mawston, Councillor P Sharrocks.
Declarations of interest:

There were no Declarations of Interest made by Members at this point in the meeting.

Item Number Item/Resolution
PUBLIC
12/54 ITEM FOR INFORMATION - LICENSING ACT 2003 - APPLICATION FOR PREMISES LICENCE - 18 BEAUMONT ROAD, NORTH ORMESBY, MIDDLESBROUGH

A report for information was submitted to advise the Committee of the outcome of a recent Magistrates Court Appeal.

 

An application for a Premises Licence, in respect of the above premises, had been received on 19 July 2012. The application requested provision of late night refreshment between the hours of 11.00pm to midnight Sunday to Thursday and 11.00pm to 1.00am Fridays and Saturdays.

 

Following representations from the local Ward Councillor on behalf of North Ormesby residents and North Ormesby Community Council, the matter was considered by the Licensing Sub Committee on 11 September 2012. Members subsequently refused the application for the reasons outlined in the report.

 

The applicant subsequently appealed the decision to the Magistrates Court and, on 19 November 2012, Magistrates overturned the decision made by the Licensing Sub Committee and granted the application.

 

Reasons for the Magistrates’ decision were detailed in the submitted report, however, it was noted that after considering the Council’s Licensing policy they were satisfied that the decision was made in accordance with the Policy but they were not satisfied that a fair balance was struck between the benefits to the community of a licensed venue and the risk of disturbance, nuisance and loss of amenity to local residents as the weight given by the Committee to the complaints by the Ward Councillor were not substantiated.

 

No order for costs was made against the Council.

 

ORDERED that the content of the submitted report be noted.
 

12/55 EXCLUSION OF PRESS AND PUBLIC.

ORDERED that the press and public be excluded from the meeting for the following items on the grounds that, if present, there would be disclosure to them of exempt information as defined in Paragraphs 1, 2, 3 and 7 of Part 1 of Schedule 12A of the Local Government Act 1972 and that the public interest in maintaining the exemption outweighed the public interest in disclosing the information.

EXEMPT
Reports of the Assistant Director Community Protection Service
12/56 APPLICATION FOR PRIVATE HIRE VEHICLE DRIVER LICENCE: REF: 46/12

The Assistant Director of Community Protection submitted an exempt report in connection with an application for a Private Hire Vehicle Driver Licence, Ref: 46/12, 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, who was in attendance at the meeting, 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 in relation to the offences detailed at 1) and 2) in the submitted report.

 

Members were reminded that the matter was due to be heard at Committee on 26 November 2012, however, the applicant had to leave the meeting to undertake a school run in a PCV minibus, therefore, Members chose to defer the matter to the next meeting. It was clarified that the applicant currently worked as a PCV minibus driver.

 

The applicant was interviewed by the Senior Licensing Officer on 23 October 2012 when he confirmed that there were no outstanding matters of which the Council was unaware and offered explanations in relation to the offences detailed at 1) and 2) in the submitted report.

 

The applicant confirmed that the report was an accurate representation of the facts and was invited to speak in support of his application.

 

The applicant addressed the Committee and responded to questions from Members and the Principal Licensing Officer.

 

It was confirmed that there were no further questions and the applicant and officers of the Council, other than representatives of the Council’s Legal Services and Members’ Office, withdrew whilst the Committee determined the application.

 

Subsequently all interested parties returned to the meeting, however, the applicant advised that the date of the offence at 2) was in fact 18 October 2010 and not 18 October 2012 as stated in the report. At this point the Committee again went into private session and the applicant and officers of the Council, other than representatives of the Council’s Legal Services and Members’ Office, withdrew whilst the Committee determined the application.

 

Subsequently all parties returned and the Chair announced the Committee’s decision.

 

ORDERED that Private Hire Vehicle Driver Licence, Ref 46/12, be granted.
 

12/57 REVIEW OF PRIVATE HIRE VEHICLE DRIVER LICENCE: REF: 48/12

The Assistant Director of Community Protection submitted an exempt report in connection with the review of Private Hire Vehicle Driver Licence, Ref: 48/12, where circumstances had arisen which required special consideration by the Committee.

 

The Chair introduced those present and outlined the procedure to be followed. The driver, who was in attendance at the meeting, 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 in relation to the offence detailed at 1) in the submitted report.

 

The driver was first licensed with the Council in July 2012. He was interviewed by the Senior Licensing Officer on 21 November 2012 when he confirmed that there were no outstanding matters of which the Council was unaware and offered an explanation in relation to the offence detailed at 1).

 

The driver confirmed that the report was an accurate representation of the facts and was invited to address the Committee.

 

The driver addressed the Committee and responded to questions from Members and the Principal Licensing Officer.

 

It was confirmed that there were no questions and the driver and officers of the Council, other than representatives of the Council’s Legal Services and Members’ Office, withdrew whilst the Committee determined the review.

 

Subsequently all interested parties returned and the Chair announced the Committee’s decision.

 

ORDERED that Private Hire Vehicle Driver Licence, Ref 48/12, be revoked as the Committee did not consider him to be a fit and proper person to hold a licence for the following reasons:-

 

1. The driver appeared before Members following notification from Cleveland Police that he had accepted a caution on 5 November 2012 for an offence of theft.

 

2. The Council’s policy guidance in relation to dishonesty offences highlighted the need for drivers to act honestly if a passenger left property behind in a taxi.

 

3. The Committee (as the body licensing taxi drivers in Middlesbrough) had different responsibilities from the Police and it was, therefore, important for the Committee to enquire into the circumstances of any offence before reaching a decision.

 

4. The Committee particularly noted the circumstances of this offence. These were that a passenger had left his wallet behind when he had travelled in the driver's taxi. The next passenger had found the wallet and handed it to the driver, believing the driver would return it to the owner or hand it in to the Police. Instead, the driver had taken the opportunity to steal £80 from the wallet and had then discarded it. When the owner of the wallet reported losing it to the Police, the taxi operator contacted the driver to check if he had the wallet. The driver subsequently admitted theft to the police and was cautioned.

 

5. The theft involved the driver abusing the position of trust he held with two of his passengers (the passenger who had lost the wallet and the passenger who had acted honestly in handing the wallet to the driver).

 

6. Not only had the driver acted dishonestly, the victim of the theft was his passenger, and he had entirely disregarded the standards of integrity expected of him as a licensed driver. In the Committee's view, stealing his passenger's money had been inexcusable. In context, this was serious dishonesty and the appropriate action was to revoke the driver's licence.

 

The driver was reminded of his right to appeal the decision to the Magistrates Court within 21 days of the decision.
 

12/58 REVIEW OF COMBINED HACKNEY CARRIAGE/PRIVATE HIRE VEHICLE DRIVER LICENCE REF 49/12.

The Assistant Director of Community Protection submitted an exempt report in connection with the review of Combined Hackney Carriage/Private Hire Vehicle Driver Licence, Ref: 49/12, where circumstances had arisen which required special consideration by the Committee.

 

The Principal Licensing Officer advised that the driver was not in attendance at the meeting as he was currently serving a seven year prison sentence following a conviction for rape. The driver was found guilty of the offence on 14 November 2012 at Teesside Magistrates Court. On 30 November 2012 the driver was sentenced to seven years imprisonment with an indefinite Sexual Offences Prevention Order with the condition that the driver must not work again as a taxi driver. The order effectively meant that the driver may never drive taxis again.

 

The Principal Licensing Officer advised that the driver had been written to on 4 December 2012 informing him of the Committee date and seeking any written comments the driver might wish to submit. To date, there had been no response.

 

It was confirmed that there were no questions and the Licensing Officer withdrew from the meeting whilst the Committee determined the review.

 

Subsequently the Licensing Officer returned and the Chair announced the Committee’s decision.

 

ORDERED that Combined Hackney Carriage/Private Hire Vehicle Driver Licence, Ref 49/12, be revoked as the driver was serving a seven year prison sentence for rape and the Court had made an indefinite order preventing him from working again as a taxi driver.
 

12/59 APPLICATION FOR PRIVATE HIRE VEHICLE DRIVER LICENCE: REF: 50/12

The Assistant Director of Community Protection submitted an exempt report in connection with an application for a Private Hire Vehicle Driver Licence, Ref: 50/12, 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, who was in attendance at the meeting, 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 in relation to the offences detailed at 1) to 3) in the submitted report.

 

The applicant was interviewed by the Senior Licensing Officer on 3 December 2012 when he confirmed that there were no outstanding matters of which the Council was unaware and offered explanations in relation to the offences detailed at 1) to 3) in the report.

 

The applicant confirmed that the report was an accurate representation of the facts and was invited to speak in support of his application.

 

The applicant addressed the Committee and responded to questions from Members of the Committee and the Principal Licensing Officer.

 

It was confirmed that there were no further questions and the applicant, and officers of the Council, other than representatives of the Council’s Legal Services and Members’ Office, withdrew whilst the Committee determined the application.

 

Subsequently all interested parties returned and the Chair announced the Committee’s decision.

 

ORDERED that Private Hire Driver Licence, Ref 50/12, be granted but that the driver be given a warning regarding his future conduct, particularly in relation to ensuring he was appropriately insured for driving.

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