Licensing Committee Minutes

Licensing Committee Minutes

Date:
Monday 23 November 2015
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 J Goodchild, Councillor T Lawton, Councillor L Lewis, Councillor D McCabe, Councillor G Purvis
Officers:
B Carr, C Cunningham and T Hodgkinson.
Apologies for absence:
Councillor T Mawston, Councillor J Rathmell
Declarations of interest:

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

Item Number Item/Resolution
PUBLIC
15/58 MINUTES - LICENSING COMMITTEE - 2 NOVEMBER 2015

The minutes of the meeting of the Licensing Committee held on 2 November 2015 were submitted and approved as a correct record.

15/59 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 or 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 Public Health
15/60 REVIEW OF PRIVATE HIRE VEHICLE DRIVER LICENCE: REF NO: 37/15

The Assistant Director of Improving Public Health submitted an exempt report in connection with a Review of Private Hire Vehicle Driver Licence, Ref: 37/15, 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 driver was first licensed as a Private Hire Vehicle Driver in 1993 and his current licence was due to expire on 30 June 2016. He had first appeared before Members on 25 September 2000 in relation to 3 motoring convictions now considered too old to be relevant to the current matter. On that occasion, Members had allowed the driver to retain his licence but issued him with a warning regarding his future behaviour.

 

The driver next appeared before Members on 23 September 2002 in relation to a further motoring conviction now considered to be too old to be of relevance to the current matter. On that occasion, Members had allowed the driver to retain his licence but required him to undertake the Driver Improvement Scheme (DIS) prior to renewing his licence. The driver completed the DIS on 20 June 2003.

 

The driver appeared before Members on 14 November 2005 when Members considered 3 further offences now considered to be too old to be of relevance to the current matter. On that occasion, Members allowed the driver to retain his licence, but issued him with a warning with regard to his future behaviour.

 

The driver now appeared before Members in relation to the offence detailed at 1) which arose as a result of information passed to the Licensing Section by the Council's CCTV Centre.

 

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.

 

At the previous meeting of the Committee, there was a dispute in relation to two further offences that were raised as part of this incident. In order to clarify the situation, the Principal Licensing Officer had requested a copy of the Memorandum of Conviction in respect of these two offences from the Courts. The Principal Licensing Officer advised that the Memorandum of Conviction in relation to the offence of "carrying passengers in a manner likely to cause danger" and "causing a vehicle other than a Hackney Carriage to wait on a Hackney Carriage stand" had been received from Teesside Magistrates Court and a copy was circulated to Members of the Committee and the driver.

 

The driver confirmed that the report was an accurate representation of the facts and was invited to address the Committee. The driver presented his case and responded to questions from Members of the Committee, the Principal Licensing Officer and the Council’s Legal 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 as follows:


That Private Hire Vehicle Driver Licence: Ref No: 37/15 be suspended for a period of four weeks for the following reasons:

 

1. The applicant had in the past been warned on two occasions and required to complete the Driver Improvement Scheme because of historic motoring convictions which brought into question the safety of road users and passengers.

 

2. In July 2015 the applicant was found guilty of driving without insurance, and pleaded guilty to using a vehicle carrying passengers that caused or was likely to cause a danger to any person in it or on a road and to illegally waiting on a Hackney Carriage stand.

 

3. Although the committee noted that the applicant advised he had had a clean driving licence for ten years and his mitigation for committing the offences, the Committee considered that the combination of driving without insurance and picking up five passengers whilst acting as a Private Hire Driver were serious safety issues. Waiting on a Hackney Rank in a Private Hire Vehicle clearly is not permitted and is in breach of the taxi legislation.

 

4. The Committee considered that the applicant had been untruthful to Licensing Officers in his interview when he claimed that he had been found not guilty to the offences of using a vehicle carrying passengers causing or likely to cause a danger and illegally waiting on a Hackney Carriage stand. When Licensing officers obtained a memorandum on conviction it showed that in fact he had pleaded guilty to those offences. When questioned at Committee in response to this, Members considered the applicant’s responses to be vague.

 

5. The Committee also considered that the applicant’s explanation to officers and the Committee of the circumstances surrounding the offences that the last passenger hid behind the seat, that he was distracted and unaware at the start of the journey that there were five passengers was untruthful. The CCTV footage shown to the Committee contradicted the applicant's version of events and clearly showed five adult passengers getting into the taxi with discussions taking place with the driver and one of the passengers.

 

In making their decision, the Committee considered the report and representations made by the applicant. The Committee also considered the Council's Policy Guidance on Convictions, Cautions and Complaints.

 

The guidance ranges from warnings to revocations and in light of the reasons given above the Council considered it appropriate to suspend the Licence for a period of four weeks under Section 61 of the Local Government (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1976.

 

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

15/61 REVIEW OF PRIVATE HIRE VEHICLE DRIVER LICENCE: REF NO: 45/15

The Assistant Director of Improving Public Health submitted an exempt report in connection with a Review of a Private Hire Vehicle Driver Licence, Ref: 45/15, where circumstances had arisen which required special consideration by the Committee.

 

The Principal Licensing Officer advised the Committee that the applicant had been due to attend the meeting but required the assistance of an Interpreter due to hearing difficulties. An Interpreter had been booked to attend the meeting however he had subsequently informed the Licensing Section that he was unable to attend the meeting.

 

The Chair suggested that the matter be deferred to the next meeting of the Committee to enable the applicant and the interpreter to attend.  


ORDERED that Review of Private Hire Vehicle Driver Licence: Ref No: 45/15 be deferred to the next meeting of the Committee to enable the applicant and the interpreter to attend.

15/62 REVIEW OF PRIVATE HIRE VEHICLE DRIVER LICENCE: REF NO: 27/15

The Assistant Director of Improving Public Health submitted an exempt report in connection with a Review of a Private Hire Vehicle Driver Licence, Ref: 27/15, where circumstances had arisen which required special consideration by the Committee.

 

The Committee was advised that the applicant was first licensed as a Private Hire Vehicle driver on 19 July 2010. He first appeared before Members on that date when they considered the offence detailed at (1). On that occasion Members chose to approve his application and he had renewed his licence annually to date. His current licence was due to expire on 30 June 2016.

 

The applicant next appeared before Members on 10 August 2015 following a complaint submitted by a member of the public where it was alleged that the applicant drove through a red light. Members also considered the motoring offences detailed at (2) and (3). On that occasion Members believed the version of events given by the Complainant and an independent witness but allowed the applicant to retain his licence, requiring that he undertake the Driver Improvement Scheme within a period of 2 months.

 

The applicant was now due to appear before Members as it had become apparent that he had not yet undertaken the Driver Improvement Scheme. The Driver Improvement Scheme was run by Stockton Council. On 1 November 2015 Licensing Officers made enquiries with the administrator of the scheme to ensure that the applicant had taken steps to undertake the scheme. Officers were advised that there had not been schemes available for the applicant, however, a number of schemes were now available and those dates had been passed to him.

 

The Senior Licensing Officer had written to the applicant advising him of available dates and advising him that he needed to ensure that he booked on to one of the available schemes and that failure to do so would result in the matter being referred back to the Licensing Committee. On 3 November 2015 the Licensing Office received a telephone call from the applicant’s brother advising that the applicant had returned to Pakistan to be married and was not returning to this country until December.

 

When previously interviewed by the Senior Licensing Officer in relation to the offences detailed at (1) to (3) and the complaint regarding the standard of his driving the applicant provided explanation for the incidents.

 

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 and the complaint received on 16 March 2015 regarding an incident where it was alleged that the applicant had driven through a red light.

 

The Committee considered the report and the fact that the Licensing Officer had received a telephone call from the applicant's brother advising that the applicant had gone to Pakistan to get married. In view of the contents of the report the Committee decided to hear the matter in the applicant's absence.

 

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 as follows:


That Private Hire Vehicle Driver Licence: Ref No: 27/15 be suspended until the applicant completed the Driver Improvement Scheme to the satisfaction of the licensing authority for the following reasons:

 

The Applicant had committed two motoring offences of excess speed in 2012 and 2014 for which he could not recall any details; the Committee considered that he also drove through a red light in 2015 in accordance with information received from a complainant. Therefore at a Committee meeting on the 10 August 2015, the Committee decided that the applicant must undertake a Driver Improvement Scheme within two months.

 

The organisers of the scheme have given additional dates outside of that two month period for the applicant to undertake the scheme but he had failed to do so. Therefore the Committee could not be satisfied that the applicant was a safe driver and decided to suspend his licence until he completes the Driver Improvement Scheme to the satisfaction of the Licensing Authority.

 

The applicant would receive the Committee's decision in writing and be reminded of his Right of Appeal to the Magistrates Court within 21 days of the date of the decision.

 

**Councillor Lawton left the room at this point of the meeting and did not take part in the decision in relation to the following Agenda Item.

15/63 REVIEW OF HACKNEY CARRIAGE DRIVER LICENCE: REF NO: 46/15

The Assistant Director of Improving Public Health submitted an exempt report in connection with a Review of a Hackney Carriage Driver Licence, Ref: 46/15, 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 Applicant requested permission to circulate a copy of a character reference to all Members of the Committee. Members agreed to the request and a copy of the character reference was circulated to all Members of the Committee.  

The Principal Licensing Officer presented the report setting out the circumstances of the case in relation to the complaint received on 19 July 2015 from a member of the public with regard to the standard of the applicant's driving on 19 July 2015.

 

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

 

The Complainant was invited into the room and provided with the opportunity to outline the basis for his complaint to Members of the Committee and the applicant. It was confirmed that there were no questions, and the complainant was invited to leave the room.

 

The applicant was invited to address the Committee. The applicant presented his case and responded to questions from Members of the Committee.

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 as follows:


That Hackney Carriage Driver Licence: Ref No: 46/15 be retained but that the applicant be issued with a warning regarding his future conduct.

 

In making their decision, the Committee had taken into consideration, the representations from the applicant, the evidence received from the Complainant and the information contained within the report.

Powered by E-GENDA from Associated Knowledge Systems Ltd