Licensing Committee Minutes

Licensing Committee Minutes

Date:
Monday 15 August 2016
Time:
1:00 p.m.
Place:
Mandela Room, Town Hall, Middlesbrough
 

Attendance Details

Present:
Councillor J A Walker (In the Chair); Councillor R Arundale, Councillor S Biswas, Councillor R Brady, Councillor D J Branson, Councillor S Dean, Councillor J Goodchild, Councillor T Higgins, Councillor L Lewis
Officers:
B Carr, C Cunningham and M Vaines
Apologies for absence:
Councillor T Lawton, Councillor T Mawston, Councillor D McCabe, Councillor J Rathmell, Councillor B E Taylor
Declarations of interest:

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

Item Number Item/Resolution
PUBLIC
16/25 MINUTES - LICENSING COMMITTEE - 25 JULY 2016

The minutes of the Licensing Committee held on 25 July 2016 were submitted and approved as a correct record.  

16/26 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
16/27 REVIEW OF COMBINED HACKNEY CARRIAGE/PRIVATE HIRE VEHICLE DRIVER LICENCE: REF NO: 29/16

The Assistant Director of Improving Public Health submitted an exempt report in connection with a review of Combined Hackney Carriage/ Private Hire Vehicle Driver Licence, Ref: 29/16, where circumstances had arisen which required special consideration by the Committee.

 

The Principal Licensing Officer advised that the matter had been due to be considered by Members at the Licensing Committee held on 25 July 2016. On that occasion the applicant had failed to attend the meeting. He had failed to contact the Licensing Section to advise of his absence and Members had therefore deferred consideration of the matter to this meeting of the Committee. 

  

The driver's wife had telephoned to advise that he was unable to attend the meeting as he was working in another town however he had requested that the matter be heard in his absence. The Council's Legal Officer confirmed that the Committee could hear the application in the driver's absence.

 

The Principal Licensing Officer presented the report which set out the circumstances of the case in relation to the offences detailed at 1) to 2) in the report.

 

The Principal Licensing Officer and the Council's Legal Officer responded to questions from Members of the Committee.

 

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

 

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

 

The Committee considered the case on its own merits, the report and guidance and noted that the driver had advised he was unable to attend the meeting but was happy for the case to proceed in his absence.

 

ORDERED that Combined Hackney Carriage/Private Hire Vehicle Driver Licence: Ref No: 29/16 be suspended for a period of four weeks.
 

It was noted that the driver's licence was due to expire on 31 August 2016. Should the driver apply to renew the licence, the Committee decided that delegated power be granted to Licensing Manager to renew and suspend the renewed licence for a period of four weeks or any lesser period still remaining out of the four week suspension period that has not been completed prior to the 31 August 2016.

 

The reasons for the suspension was because the driver had been convicted of illegally plying for hire and for having no insurance on 24 May 2016. The driver had received a warning when his licence was granted in September 2009 that any further incidents or offences would call into question his suitability hold a licence.

 

Also in July 2015 the driver received a further written warning regarding inappropriate parking. It considered that the driver would have been aware that plying for hire was contrary to his private hire vehicle licence and deprived hackney carriages of the opportunity to access those fares. The Committee also considered he put the travelling public at risk because the vehicle was not insured during this journey.

 

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

16/28 APPLICATION FOR PRIVATE HIRE VEHICLE DRIVER LICENCE: REF NO: 30/16

The Assistant Director of Improving Public Health submitted an exempt report in connection with an application for a Private Hire Vehicle Driver Licence, Ref: 30/16, 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 verified his name and address and confirmed that he had received a copy of the report.

The Principal Licensing Officer advised that the application had been due to be considered by Members at the meeting of the Licensing Committee held on 25 July 2016. The matter had been deferred by Members at the request of the applicant.

 

The Principal Licensing Officer presented the report which set out the circumstances of the case in relation to the offences detailed at 1) to 2) in the report. The applicant advised that the explanations in respect of the two offences had been transposed otherwise the report was correct.

The applicant was invited to address the Committee in support of his case and respond 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 Democratic Services, 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 No: 30/16, be granted.

 

In making their decision, the Committee considered the application on its own merits, the report, representations and guidance. It was noted that the applicant had committed an assault in 2009 and battery in 2014 however after considering the circumstances of the offences, the Committee considered that a sufficient incident free period had lapsed since the last offence in accordance with the Guidance which requires a period of 1 to 3 years free from conviction or caution.

16/29 APPLICATION FOR PRIVATE HIRE VEHICLE DRIVER LICENCE: REF NO: 32/16

The Assistant Director of Improving Public Health submitted an exempt report in connection with an application for a Private Hire Vehicle Driver Licence, Ref: 32/16, 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 verified his name and address and confirmed that he had received a copy of the report.

The Principal Licensing Officer presented the report which set out the circumstances of the case in relation to the offences detailed at 1) to 3) in the report. The applicant confirmed that the report was correct.

The applicant was invited to address the Committee in support of his case and respond 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 Democratic Services, 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 No: 32/16, be refused.

 

The Committee considered the application on its own merits, considered the report representations and the Council’s guidance.

 

The Committee decided to refuse to grant a licence to drive private hire vehicles to the applicant on the grounds he is not fit and proper for the following reasons:-

 

The applicant had been convicted of two drugs offences in 2009 and 2014. Through representations it appeared that the applicant had a propensity for habitual use of cannabis over a long period of time. The applicant claimed that he had stopped smoking cannabis about a year ago however when questioned was vague and could not recall the date or month or time when he had stopped. The Committee could not be satisfied he no longer took cannabis nor could it be satisfied that it would be unlikely for him to take the drug in the future if granted a licence.

 

The applicant had been convicted of driving a vehicle without insurance which was a serious safety issue. In addition the applicant had failed to disclose the drug offences on his application form. The Committee considered the form to be clear and easily understood. The applicant was able to answer and understand other questions on the form. The Committee therefore considered after hearing his representations that his failure to disclose the convictions was an attempt to hide them from the authority. It was clear that the incidents were convictions and all convictions and cautions must be declared.

 

For these reasons the Committee did not consider the applicant to be suitable to drive taxis in Middlesbrough.

 

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

16/30 APPLICATION FOR PRIVATE HIRE VEHICLE DRIVER LICENCE: REF NO: 33/16

The Assistant Director of Improving Public Health submitted an exempt report in connection with an application for a Private Hire Vehicle Driver Licence, Ref: 33/16, 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 accompanied by his legal representative, verified his name and address and confirmed that he had received a copy of the report.

The Principal Licensing Officer presented the report which set out the circumstances of the case in relation to the offence detailed in the report. The applicant confirmed that the report was correct.

The applicant and his legal representative were invited to address the Committee in support of the case and respond to questions from Members of the Committee.

 

It was confirmed that there were no further questions and the applicant, his legal representative and officers of the Council, other than representatives of the Council’s Legal Services and Democratic Services, 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 No: 33/16, be refused.

 

The Committee considered the application on its own merits, the report and representations by the applicant and his representative.

 

The Committee decided to refuse the application to grant a licence to drive private hire vehicles on the grounds that the applicant was not fit and proper to hold a licence for the following reasons:-

 

The Council’s policy states for isolated offences involving dishonesty there should be at least 3 to 5 years free from conviction. It also states that if an applicant has more than one offence, it may show a propensity to be dishonest.

 

The Committee noted the representations that it was his wife who filled in the form and it was a mistake or at worst recklessness. However, the Committee considered that the applicant had signed the forms and was therefore responsible for making false claims over a long period on three separate occasions. The Committee considered the false statements were serious in that the applicant failed to declare a bank account and a property for which income was received. The Committee considered that the applicant ought to have known and a reasonable person would have known this information was false and that information resulted in an unlawful gain. There would also have been a declaration of truth on the form that the applicant would be subject to.

 

Therefore the Committee considered that insufficient time had lapsed since the conviction and the applicant was not suitable to hold a private hire vehicle licence at this time for the reasons given.

 

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

16/31 REVIEW OF PRIVATE HIRE VEHICLE DRIVER LICENCE: REF NO: 34/16

The Assistant Director of Improving Public Health submitted an exempt report in connection with the review of Private Hire Vehicle Driver Licence, Ref: 34/16, where circumstances had arisen which required special consideration by the Committee.

 

The Committee noted the applicant was in prison for 36 months for supplying a Class A drug - Cocaine. It therefore agreed to hear the matter in the applicant’s absence.

 

The Principal Licensing Officer presented the report which set out the circumstances of the case in relation to the offence detailed in the report.

 

Officers of the Council, other than representatives of the Council’s Legal Services and Democratic Services, withdrew whilst the Committee determined the application.

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

 

ORDERED that Private Hire Vehicle Driver Licence Ref: No. 34/16 be revoked with immediate effect.

 

The Guidance states that a serious view is to be taken of any drug related offence. An offence of supplying Class A drug requires a period of at least 5 to 10 years free of incident since completion of a sentence. The applicant was currently serving a 36 month prison sentence which showed how serious the offence was. The Committee therefore decided to revoke the applicant's private hire vehicle driver’s licence with immediate effect in the interests of public safety in light of the seriousness of the offence and the risk to the travelling public.

 

The applicant would be advised of his Right of Appeal to the Magistrates Court within 21 days of the date of the decision.

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