Stockton-on-Tees Borough Council

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Licensing Committee (ceased to operate 10/04/2017) Minutes

Date:
Tuesday, 10th December, 2013
Time:
10.00am
Place:
Council Chamber, Town Hall, High Street, Stockton on Tees, TS18 1AJ
 
Please note: all Minutes are subject to approval at the next Meeting

Attendance Details

Present:
Cllr Paul Kirton(Chairman), Cllr Michael Clark, Cllr Evaline Cunningham, Cllr Phillip Dennis, Cllr Ken Dixon, Cllr Eileen Johnson, Cllr Alan Lewis, Cllr Ray McCall, Cllr Maurice Perry, Cllr David Wilburn,
Officers:
Miss P Edwards, Mr S Mills, Mr M Vaines(DNS), Mr J Nertney, Mrs S Whaley(LD)
In Attendance:
Private Hire Driver 112526, Private Hire Driver 131714, Private Hire Driver 131215.
Apologies for absence:
Cllr Mrs Kathryn Nelson(Vice-Chairman), Cllr Jean Kirby, Cllr Miss Tina Large, Cllr Bill Woodhead
Item Description Decision
Public
L
36/13
DECLARATIONS OF INTEREST
There were no declarations of interest.
L
37/13
EXCLUSION OF THE PUBLIC
RESOLVED that under Section 100A(4) of the Local Government Act 1972 the public be excluded from the meeting for the following items of business on the grounds that they involved the likely disclosure of exempt information as defined in paragraph 1 of Part 1 of Schedule 12A of the Act.
Confidential
L
38/13
PRIVATE HIRE DRIVER - REF 112526
  • Private Hire Driver - Ref 112526
RESOLVED that:

Private Hire Driver 112526 be issued with a written warning.
L
39/13
APPLICATION FOR A PRIVATE HIRE DRIVERS LICENCE - REF 131714
  • Application for a Private Hire Drivers Licence - Ref 131714
RESOLVED that:

Applicant ref-31714 have his private hire drivers licence granted subject to completion of the application process and further pass the DSA taxi test.
L
40/13
PRIVATE HIRE DRIVER - REF 131215
  • Private Hire Driver - Ref 131215
RESOLVED that:

1. Private Hire Driver 131215's licence be revoked.

2. Public safety was an issue and therefore the revocation take immediate effect under Section 61(2)(B) of the Act.
10:00

Preamble

ItemPreamble
L
38/13
Consideration was given to a report on Private Hire Driver - Ref 112526 who, since the grant of the licence received a caution for being in possession of a lock knife.

Private Hire Driver 112526 was in attendance at the meeting and was given the opportunity to make representation.

The report detailed:-

- Private Hire Driver 112526 background.

- Information relating to the incident where Private Hire Driver 112526 was cautioned by Police on the 19th September 2013.

Members considered all of the evidence including the report, appendices and oral evidence that was given. Members were asked to determine whether Private Hire Driver 112526 was a fit and proper person to continue as a Private Hire Driver.

Members were reminded of their powers under the Local Government (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1976.

The Committee expressed concern that Private Hire Driver 112526 had received a Police caution for possessing a knife in a public place, however Members of the Committee accepted Private Hire Driver 112526 explanation that the knife was in his private hire vehicle alongside other items which were in his possession and which he used when fishing. Private Hire Driver 11526 explained that fishing was a hobby of his and he had a large collection of fishing equipment. Members noted Private Hire Driver 112526 assurances that he had learnt a valuable lesson and that this would not happen again.

Members were of the view that a written warning be issued and that Private Hire Driver 112526 check his vehicle regularly and that no knives or other articles which may be deemed as offensive weapons be kept in his vehicle.

Members explained to Private Hire Driver 112526 that if he appeared before the licensing Committee in similar circumstances again then the Committee would consider revoking his licence. Private Hire Driver 112526 was reminded that he should exhibit high standards of conduct to demonstrate that he was a fit and proper person.
L
39/13
Consideration was given to a report to determine the suitability to supply applicant ref-131714 with a Private Hire Drivers Licence as he was previously disqualified from driving due to the totting up procedure and who had also previously been refused an earlier application by the Licensing Committee in May 2012.

Applicant ref - 131714 was in attendance at the meeting and was given the opportunity to make representation.

The report detailed:-

- Applicant ref-131714's background.

- Details relating to applicant ref-131714's disqualification from the DVLA on the 14th October 2010.

- Details relating to applicant ref-131714's completion of a Driver Improvement Course with Stockton Borough Council.

- Information relating to applicant ref-131714 driving licence being re-instated.

- Details relating to previous applications for a Private Hire Drivers Licence with Middlesbrough Council and Stockton Borough Council.

- Details surrounding applicant ref-131714's most recent application in October 2013 for a Private Hire Drivers Licence with Stockton Borough Council.

Members considered all of the evidence including the report, appendices and oral evidence that was given. Members were asked to determine whether applicant ref-131714 was a fit and proper person to be granted a Private Hire Drivers Licence.

Members were reminded that under the provisions of section 51(1)(a) of the Local Governments (Miscellaneous Provision) Act 1976, District Councils are instructed not to grant a licence to drive private hire vehicles, unless they are satisfied that the applicant is a fit and proper person to hold such a licence.

Member's noted that applicant ref-131714, had previously had his private hire drivers licence revoked by Middlesbrough Council in 2010, due to disqualification of his driving licence by the DVLA. Applicant ref-131714, had also been refused a licence by Stockton-on-Tees Borough Council and had been informed that in accordance with the Councils guidelines a new application should not be submitted until 2015. Member's noted applicant ref-131714's previous history in relation to his disqualification from driving due to the totting up procedure of 12 DVLA points in 3 years. The Committee noted that applicant ref-131714 was remorseful and that he felt he was a changed character. In addition it was noted that applicant 131714 had, had his DVLA licence back for approximately 31 months, without accruing any further penalty points. The Committee was assured by applicant ref-131714 that he was a safe and responsible driver and, if licensed, would not receive any further motoring convictions and would not appear before the Licensing Committee again.

It was explained to applicant ref-131714 that the Council's Guidelines/Policy on the relevance of convictions stated that a private hire driver should normally show a period of four years free from conviction, after the restoration of your DVLA licence, before a private hire licence would be granted.

Members took in to consideration all the information before them and the comments made by applicant ref-131714 at the hearing and on this occasion decided that they were persuaded to depart from their Guidelines/Policy and were minded to grant applicant ref-131714 his private hire drivers licence subject to completion of the application process and resitting the Driving Standards Association Taxi Test, at applicant ref-131714's own cost.
Applicant ref-131714 was informed that the licence and badges would not be issued until he had provided evidence that he had completed the application process and further passed the DSA taxi test. Should applicant ref-131714 fail the DSA taxi test then his application would be refused as he would not be deemed a fit and proper person.
L
40/13
Consideration was given to a report on Private Hire Driver - Ref 131215 who, was alleged to have made inappropriate comments to a lone 17 year old female passenger.

Private Hire Driver 131215 was in attendance at the meeting and was given the opportunity to make representation.

The report detailed:-

- Private Hire Driver 131215's background.

- Information relating to the alleged incident.

- The witness statement.

- A record of a tape recorded interview with Private Hire Driver 131215.

- Map detailing Private Hire Driver 131215 alleged route.

- Map detailing the witnesses' alleged route.

- The policy guidelines relating to the Relevance of Convictions, Cautions, Reprimands, Warnings and Complaints and Character.

Members considered all of the evidence including the report, appendices and oral evidence that was given. Members were asked to determine whether Private Hire Driver 131215 was a fit and proper person to continue as a Private Hire Driver.

Members were reminded that under the provisions of Section 61(1)(a) of the Local Government (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1976 and of the power to suspend or revoke or refuse to renew a licence with immediate effect if the interests of public safety so require.

The issue which was before Members was an allegation that Private Hire Driver 131215 had picked up a lone female in his private hire vehicle from the Garrick public house on Friday the 23rd August 2013. The complainant alleged that Private Hire Driver 131215 had made inappropriate comments of a sexual nature towards her.

After considering all of the evidence the Committee noted that when Private Hire Driver 131215 was initially interviewed he denied the allegations made by the complainant. Private Hire Driver 131215 was also questioned about the route which he took to the complainant's destination. Private Hire Driver 131215 disputed the route which the complainant stated he had taken. Private Hire Driver 131215 informed the Committee that he now accepted the route detailed by the complainant. Private Hire Driver 131215 however, still denied making any comments of a sexual nature to the complainant. This caused some concern to the Committee as when Private Hire Driver 131215 was initially interviewed by officers, a week after the journey, Private Hire Driver 131215 denied taking the route as detailed by the complainant. Members were persuaded by the evidence of the complainant and found her to be a credible witness albeit appearing to be very nervous giving evidence to the Committee. Members noted that the complainant had reported the alleged inappropriate comments as soon as she arrived at her boyfriend's Aunts home. Private Hire Driver 131215 had little or no explanation for why the complainant would make such serious allegations against him.
Members considered the matter on the balance of probabilities and decided that they believed the evidence of the witness over that of Private Hire Driver 131215. Members went on to consider what action should be taken in relation to their findings. Members concluded that they were satisfied that making comments of an inappropriate sexual nature to a lone female passenger was wholly inappropriate for a licensed driver. The Committee deemed this to be relevant to Private Hire Driver 131215's fitness as a licensed driver and as such under the provisions of Section 61(1)(b) of the Local Government (Miscellaneous) Provisions Act 1976 was considered to be sufficient reasonable cause to revoke his licence. The Committee also resolved that public safety was an issue and the revocation would take immediate effect pursuant to Section 61 2(B) of the said Act.

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