Licensing Committee Minutes

Licensing Committee Minutes

Date:
Monday 1 September 2014
Time:
1:00 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 R Brady, Councillor G Purvis, Councillor M Thompson and Councillor M B Williams.
Officers:
C Cunningham, J Dixon and T Hodgkinson.
Apologies for absence:
Councillor M Hudson, Councillor T Mawston, Councillor P Sharrocks.
Declarations of interest:

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

Item Number Item/Resolution
PUBLIC
14/39 MINUTES - LICENSING COMMITTEE - 11 AUGUST 2014.

The Minutes of the previous Licensing Committee meeting held on 11 August 2014 were submitted and approved as a correct record.

14/40 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
Report of Assistant Director Improving Health
14/41 REVIEW OF PRIVATE HIRE VEHICLE DRIVER LICENCE - REF NO: 46/14

The Assistant Director of Improving Public Health submitted an exempt report in connection with the review of Private Hire Vehicle Driver Licence, Ref: 46/14, 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 an offence detailed at 2) in the submitted report and an incident that occurred on 1 June 2014.

 

The driver was first licensed with Middlesbrough Council in May 2012 and appeared before Members in relation to the offence outlined at 1) in the submitted report. On that occasion Members chose to grant the licence.

 

The driver now appeared before the Committee following a joint enforcement exercise when the driver was stopped by a Licensing Officer and a member of the Cleveland Police Road Traffic Unit. Both Officers had submitted statements in relation to the stop which had given them both cause for concern.
 

Copies of their statements were attached at Appendix 1.

 

The driver was interviewed by the Senior Licensing Officer on 30 July 2014 at which time he confirmed that there were no outstanding matters of which the Council was unaware, confirmed his earlier explanation in relation to the offence detailed at 1) and offered an explanation in relation to the offence detailed at 2) and the incident on 1 June 2014.

 

The driver confirmed that the report was an accurate representation of the facts.

 

At this point in the meeting it was confirmed that the Police Officer who had stopped the driver on 1 June 2014 was unable to attend, however, the Licensing Officer who had been present at the incident was in attendance.

 

The Licensing Officer joined the meeting and the Chair introduced those present and explained the procedure to be followed. The Licensing Officer confirmed the content of his statement, attached at Appendix 1 to the submitted report, and provided his version of events in relation to the incident that occurred on 1 June 2014.

 

The Licensing Officer responded to questions from Members and the Council’s legal representative. It was confirmed that the driver had no questions and the Licensing Officer withdrew from the meeting at this point.

 

The driver was asked to present his version of events to the Committee and he responded to questions from Members and the Principal Licensing Officer.

 

It was confirmed that there were no further 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 46/14, be retained but that the driver be issued with a warning in relation to his future conduct.

 

The Committee issued the warning for the following reasons:-

  1. The driver should ensure that he had his Private Hire Vehicle Driver Licence badge with him at all times.
  2. The Police Officer had pointed out that his standard of driving at the time he was stopped was poor.
  3. The Council's Licensing Officer and the Police Officer's statement described a strong smell of cannabis emanating from the driver's vehicle and the Committee believed that something must have taken place inside the vehicle. The Committee acknowledged that the driver had not been charged or cautioned and had passed the roadside sobriety test undertaken by the Police Officer and also acknowledged that no drugs had been found on the driver's person or inside the vehicle.
     
14/42 REVIEW OF COMBINED HACKNEY CARRIAGE/PRIVATE HIRE VEHICLE DRIVER LICENCE - REF NO: 47/14

The Assistant Director of Improving Public Health submitted an exempt report in connection with the review of Combined Hackney Carriage/Private Hire Vehicle Driver Licence, Ref: 47/14, 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 6) in the submitted report.

 

The driver was first licenced with the Council in December 2008. He first appeared before Members in January 2012 in relation to the offences detailed at 1) to 4) in the report. On that occasion, Members chose to allow the driver to retain his licence but requested him to complete the Driver Improvement Scheme at his own expense.

 

The driver completed the scheme on 23 February 2012 and a copy of the instructor’s appraisal sheet was attached at Appendix 1.

 

The driver appeared again before Members in January 2013 in relation to a further offence at 5). On that occasion, the driver’s licence was suspended for a period of three weeks as Members were concerned in relation to the number of convictions he had accrued in relation to unsafe driving, the number of points he had on his licence and that he had not reported the offence detailed at 5) to the Licensing Office as required by condition on his licence.

 

The driver no appeared before Members in relation to the offence detailed at 6). The driver was interviewed by the Senior Licensing Officer on 20 August 2014 at which time he confirmed that there were no outstanding matters of which the Council was unaware and confirmed his previous explanations in relation to the offences at 1) to 5) and offered an explanation in relation to the offence at 6).

 

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 further questions and the driver, 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 Combined Hackney Carriage/Private Hire Vehicle Driver Licence, Ref 47/14, be suspended for a period of two weeks, for the following reasons:-

  1. The Committee had previously suspended the driver's licence for a period of three weeks in January 2013 for issues relating to unsafe driving.
  2. The Committee had requested that the driver complete the Driver Improvement Scheme in January 2012 and, whilst the driver had stated he had learned from the Scheme, he currently had 12 penalty points on his DVLA licence.
  3. The Committee believed that the driver had been fortunate not to have been disqualified from driving under the totting up procedure as he had pleaded hardship.
  4. In relation to the driver's latest conviction for no insurance, the Committee acknowledged that he had made attempts to obtain insurance but had left it too late and had not taken sufficient steps to ensure that the vehicle was insured.
  5. The driver had accrued 21 penalty points in six years and was warned that he needed to concentrate on working within the law otherwise he was likely to lose his licence.

The driver was advised of his Right of Appeal to the Magistrates Court within 21 days of the date of the decision.
 

14/43 REVIEW OF PRIVATE HIRE VEHICLE DRIVER LICENCE - REF NO: 48/14

The Assistant Director of Improving Public Health submitted an exempt report in connection with the review of Private Hire Vehicle Driver Licence, Ref: 48/14, 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 report outlined that the driver was first licensed with Middlesbrough Council in December 2001. The driver was interviewed by the Senior Licensing Officer on 20 August 2014, at which time 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). Letters from the Probation Service and the driver’s legal representative in relation to the matter were attached at Appendix 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.

 

It was confirmed that there were no further 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 48/14 be retained but that the driver be issued with a warning in relation to his future conduct.

 

The Council's Policy Guidance on convictions stated that a licence would normally be revoked for offences involving dishonesty unless a period of at least 3-5 years free from conviction had elapsed since the date of conviction or the completion of any sentence imposed, whichever was the later. Whilst the driver had been convicted of a dishonesty offence in July 2014, the Committee considered it appropriate to depart from the guidance for the following reasons:-

  1. The Committee recognised that the driver had received a 12 month Supervision Order and the Court believed that a custodial sentence was not appropriate.
  2. The Probation Service believed that the driver had made a genuine mistake.
  3. In summing up the case in Court, the Judge had stated that he did not believe that the driver had deliberately set out to defraud the system.
  4. The letter from the driver's legal representative confirmed that the Court did not intend to pursue retrieving the money back through the Proceeds of Crime Act.
     
14/44 REVIEW OF PRIVATE HIRE VEHICLE DRIVER LICENCE - REF NO: 45/14

The Assistant Director of Improving Public Health submitted an exempt report in connection with the review of Private Hire Vehicle Driver Licence, Ref: 45/14, 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 offences detailed at 1) and 2) in the submitted report.

 

It was noted that the driver was first licensed with Middlesbrough Council in March 2012. At that time, Officer considered 11 offences detailed on the driver’s criminal record disclosure and considered those offences too old to be relevant as the last offence had occurred in 1998.

 

The driver was required to undertake a criminal record check when he applied to renew his licence in February 2014 (as licensed drivers must do so every three years). On his licence application renewal form, the driver had included details of the offence at 1), however, he had not previously notified the Council of this offence.

 

The driver was interviewed by the Senior Licensing Officer on 15 August 2014, at which time he confirmed that there were no outstanding matters of which the Council was unaware, confirmed that all costs and fines in relation to the offences had been paid in full and offered explanations in relation to the offences detailed at 1) and 2).

 

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 Council’s legal representative.

 

It was confirmed that there were no further 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 45/14 be revoked as the Committee did not believe that the driver was a fit and proper person to hold a licence, for the following reasons:-

  1. The Council's Policy Guidance on convictions stated that a licence would normally be revoked for offences involving dishonesty unless a period of at least 3-5 years free from conviction had elapsed since the date of conviction or the completion of any sentence imposed, whichever was the later. The driver had was convicted of an offence involving dishonesty in January 2012 and had failed to declare that conviction to the Council and had misled the Council when he had applied for his Private Hire Vehicle driver's licence.
  2. As a taxi driver, he was in a position of trust and had betrayed that trust when working in his previous job.

The driver was advised of his Right of Appeal to the Magistrates Court within 21 days of the date of the decision.
 

14/45 APPLICATION FOR PRIVATE HIRE VEHICLE LICENCE - REQUEST FOR EXEMPTION FROM REQUIREMENT TO UNDERTAKE PRACTICAL DRIVING TEST - REF NO: 44/14

The Assistant Director of Improving Public Health submitted an exempt report in connection with an application for a Private Hire Vehicle Driver Licence, with a request for an exemption from the requirement to undertake a practical driving test, Ref: 44/14, where circumstances had arisen which required special consideration by the Committee.

 

At the appointed time, it was confirmed that the applicant was not in attendance. The Principal Licensing Officer explained that the applicant had failed his knowledge test and that determination of the matter would need to be subject to the driver passing his knowledge test.

 

It was subsequently agreed that consideration of the matter be deferred until such time that the applicant had passed his knowledge test.

 

ORDERED that consideration of the application for a Private Hire Vehicle Driver Licence, with a request for an exemption from the requirement to undertake a practical driving test, Ref 44/14, be deferred to a future meeting, pending the driver successfully passing his taxi knowledge test.
 

14/46 ANY OTHER URGENT ITEMS WHICH IN THE OPINION OF THE CHAIR MAY BE CONSIDERED.

** SUSPENSION OF PROCEDURE RULE 21 - EXCLUSION - PRESS - PUBLIC


ORDERED that the clause excluding the press and public be lifted in order to consider an item under any other business.

 

ANY OTHER BUSINESS

 

Members were requested to consider the minutes of the Licensing Committee held on 23 December 2013 which had not previously been agreed by the Committee. The submitted minutes were subsequently agreed as a correct record.

Powered by E-GENDA from Associated Knowledge Systems Ltd