Licensing Committee Minutes

Licensing Committee Minutes

Date:
Monday 9 February 2015
Time:
1:00 p.m.
Place:
Mandela Room, Town Hall, Middlesbrough
 

Attendance Details

Present:
Councillor B E Taylor (Chair), Councillor R Arundale, Councillor S Biswas, Councillor R Brady, Councillor T Mawston, 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 P Sharrocks, Councillor J A Walker.
Declarations of interest:
Name of Member Type of Interest Item/Nature of Interest
Councillor M Thompson Non-pecuniary Agenda Item 9 - Applic. PHVDL Ref 09/15 (applicant know to Councillor)
     
Item Number Item/Resolution
PUBLIC
14/86 MINUTES OF THE PREVIOUS MEETING OF THE LICENSING COMMITTEE HELD ON 26 JANUARY 2015.

The Minutes of the previous Licensing Committee meeting held on 26 January 2015 were submitted and approved as a correct record.

14/87 LEGAL PROCEEDINGS RESULTS - TAXI LICENSING

The Assistant Director of Improving Public Health submitted a report informing Members of the legal proceedings results relating to taxi licensing for the period January 2014 to December 2014.

 

It was noted that the report had been circulated to the Police, Press and the Taxi Trade for information.

 

There had been 10 offences during this period, all of which had resulted in a caution being issued.

 

It was noted that five of the offences were in relation to the drivers’ failure to wear their driver identification badge and it was suggested that drivers be reminded to do so. The Principal Licensing Officer responded that it was not an issue for concern but would arrange for a reminder to be included in the next Trade newsletter.
 

                                                                                                                                                                                              NOTED

14/88 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
14/89 REVIEW OF COMBINED HACKNEY CARRIAGE/PRIVATE HIRE VEHICLE DRIVER LICENCE - REF NO: 07/15

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: 07/15, 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 accompanied by his legal representative, verified his name and address and confirmed that he had received a copy of the report.

 

At this point, the driver’s legal representative requested that the matter be adjourned. The Committee was being asked to consider a complaint in relation to the driver, regarding an incident on 28 October 2014, and the driver had provided contact details in relation to a passenger he stated had been travelling in his vehicle at the time of the incident. The driver’s legal representative had contacted the witness on Friday (6 February 2015) who had confirmed that she would be willing to attend the Committee hearing. Unfortunately, the witness had failed to attend and the legal representative had been unable to make contact with her and, therefore, requested that the matter be adjourned in order for the witness to be afforded another opportunity to attend.

 

The Principal Licensing Officer advised that the complainant was in attendance and left the room to ascertain whether he would be willing to attend a subsequent meeting should Members decide to defer consideration of the matter. The Principal Licensing Officer subsequently returned and confirmed that the complainant had no objection to returning to a subsequent meeting.

 

It was confirmed that there were no further questions and the driver, his legal representative, and officers of the Council, other than representatives of the Council’s Legal Services and Members’ Office, withdrew whilst the Committee determined its decision in relation to the request.

 

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

 

ORDERED that consideration of the review of Combined Hackney Carriage/Private Hire Vehicle Driver Licence, Ref 07/15, be deferred to the next meeting of the Licensing Committee in order to allow the driver’s witness a further opportunity to attend.

 

The driver was advised that the matter would be heard at the next meeting irrespective of whether he, or the witnesses, were in attendance.
 

14/90 APPLICATION FOR COMBINED HACKNEY CARRIAGE/PRIVATE HIRE VEHICLE DRIVER LICENCE - REF NO: 06/15

The Assistant Director of Improving Public Health submitted an exempt report in connection with an application for a Combined Hackney Carriage/Private Hire Vehicle Driver Licence, Ref: 06/15, 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 accompanied by a friend who was a Hackney Carriage driver, 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), seven separate complaints and information supplied by Redcar and Cleveland Council on 8 January 2015, relating to an incident that occurred when the applicant had been undertaking his taxi knowledge test with Redcar and Cleveland Council. Details of the incident were attached at Appendix 16.

 

The applicant was first licensed with Middlesbrough Council in August 1997. The applicant first appeared before the Licensing Committee in November 2008 in relation to Complaint 1, outlined in the report. On that occasion Members allowed him to retain his licence but warned him in relation to his future behaviour.

 

The applicant next appeared before Members in March 2011 in relation to the offences detailed at 1) and 2) and three further complaints (complaints 2, 3 and 4). On that occasion his licence was suspended until successful completion of the Driver Improvement Scheme. The applicant completed the course in March 2012.

 

The applicant again appeared before Members in September 2013 following three further complaints (Complaints 5, 6 and 7) regarding his behaviour and further information from Cleveland Police. On that occasion, Members revoked his licence for the reasons detailed within the submitted report. The applicant appealed the decision to the Magistrates Court where the appeal was refused. He subsequently appealed to the Crown Court when the appeal was again refused.

 

The applicant now appeared before Members with a fresh application. He was interviewed by the Senior Licensing officer on 27 January 2015 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 complaints at 1) to 7) and the offences at 1) and 2) and offered an explanation in relation to the offence at 3). He also commented in relation to additional information received from Redcar and Cleveland Council, detailed at Appendix 16.

 

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

 

The applicant’s representative spoke in support of the applicant then the applicant addressed the Committee in support of his application and responded to questions from Members.

 

It was confirmed that there were no further questions and the applicant, his representative 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 the application for a Combined Hackney Carriage/Private Hire Vehicle Driver Licence, Ref 06/15, be refused as the Committee did not consider the applicant to be a fit and proper person to hold a licence for the following reasons:-

  1. The applicant had previously held a Combined Hackney Carriage/Private Hire Vehicle Driver Licence which was revoked, by the Licensing Committee, in September 2013 due to seven separate complaints made against him by a variety of people.
  2. The applicant had behaved aggressively towards public servants carrying out their duties and his driving standards were unsafe.
  3. The Committee had noted that the applicant had apologised for his behaviour, however, he had behaved aggressively towards a Licensing Officer at Redcar and Cleveland Council, in October 2014, during the application process.
  4. The Committee did not consider that sufficient time had lapsed for the applicant to have changed his character and believed he had a propensity to be aggressive towards public officials and to disregard what they said.

The applicant was reminded of his Right of Appeal to the Magistrates Courts within 21 days of the date of the decision.
 

14/91 APPLICATION FOR PRIVATE HIRE VEHICLE DRIVER LICENCE - REF NO: 08/15

The Assistant Director of Improving Public Health submitted an exempt report in connection with an application for a Private Hire Vehicle Driver Licence, Ref: 08/15, 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. A further offence, considered to be a minor violent offence, was not listed as it was considered too old to be or relevance to the application.

 

The applicant was interviewed by the Senior Licensing Officer on 27 January 2015, at which time he confirmed that there were no outstanding matters of which the Council was unaware, confirmed that all fines in relation to the offences had been paid in full and offered explanations in relation to the offences at 1) and 2).

 

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

 

The applicant presented the case in support of his application and responded to questions from Members.
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 the application for a Private Hire Vehicle Driver Licence, Ref 08/15, be granted.

 

** DECLARATION OF INTEREST

 

Councillor M Thompson declared a non-pecuniary interest in relation to the following item as the applicant was known to him. Councillor Thompson withdrew from the meeting at this point and took no part in consideration of the matter.
 

14/92 APPLICATION FOR PRIVATE HIRE VEHICLE DRIVER LICENCE - REF NO: 09/15

The Assistant Director of Improving Public Health submitted an exempt report in connection with an application for a Private Hire Vehicle Driver Licence, Ref: 09/15, 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.

 

The applicant was interviewed by the Senior Licensing officer on 27 January 2015 at which time he confirmed that there were no outstanding matters of which the Council was unaware, confirmed that all costs and fines had been paid in full and offered explanations in relation to the offences at 1) and 2).

 

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

 

The applicant presented the case in support of his application and responded to questions from Members.

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 the application for a Private Hire Vehicle Driver Licence, Ref 09/15, be refused as the Committee did not consider the applicant to be a fit and proper person to hold a licence for the following reasons:-

  1. The applicant had two convictions and was still on probation for both offences until August 2015. The Council’s Policy Guidance on convictions stated that where an applicant had committed a violent offence, similar in nature to that committed by the applicant, an application would normally be refused unless a period of at least 1 - 3 years free from conviction had elapsed since the date of conviction or completion of any sentence imposed, whichever was the later.
  2. The Committee accepted that the applicant had been provoked but, as a prospective taxi driver, it was essential that he did not react to provocation.

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

14/93 ANY OTHER URGENT ITEMS WHICH IN THE OPINION OF THE CHAIR MAY BE CONSIDERED.

 
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