Stockton-on-Tees Borough Council

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

Date:
Tuesday, 23rd June, 2015
Time:
10.00 am
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 Mrs Kathryn Nelson(Vice-Chairman),Cllr Chris Clough, Cllr Evaline Cunningham, Cllr Philip Dennis, Cllr Eileen Johnson, Cllr Mrs Jean O'Donnell, Cllr Stephen Parry, Cllr Maurice Perry, Cllr Julia Whitehill, Cllr David Wilburn, Cllr Norma Wilburn, Cllr Bill Woodhead
Officers:
P Edwards, S Mills(PH), J Nertney, S Whaley(LD)
In Attendance:
Applicant - Ref 119125 and his representative Mr M Vaines, Applicant Ref - 118592, Applicant Ref - 063056.
Item Description Decision
Public
L
1/15
EVACUATION PROCEDURE
 
L
2/15
DECLARATIONS OF INTEREST
 
L
3/15
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
4/15
APPLICATION FOR A PRIVATE HIRE DRIVERS LICENCE - REF 119125
  • Application for a Private Hire Drivers Licence - Ref 119125
RESOLVED that Applicant Ref - 119125 Private Hire Drivers Licence be granted following successful completion of Stockton Borough Councils driver improvement course at his own cost.
L
5/15
APPLICATION FOR A PRIVATE HIRE DRIVERS LICENCE - REF 139969
  • Application for a Private Hire Drivers Licence - Ref 139969
RESOLVED that the item be deferred.
L
6/15
APPLICATION FOR A PRIVATE HIRE DRIVERS LICENCE - REF 118592
  • Application for a Private Hire Drivers Licence - Ref 118592
RESOLVED that Applicant Ref - 118592 be granted his Private Hire Drivers Licence.
L
7/15
APPLICATION FOR A PRIVATE HIRE DRIVERS LICENCE - REF 063056
  • Application for a Private Hire Drivers Licence - Ref 063056
RESOLVED that Applicant Ref - 063056 be refused his Private Hire Drivers Licence

Preamble

ItemPreamble
L
1/15
The evacuation procedure was noted.
L
2/15
There were no declarations of interest
L
4/15
Consideration was given to a report for Members to determine what action to take in relation to an application for a private hire
driver's licence from an applicant who had previously been revoked by this Licensing Committee after he had committed 3 speeding offences in one day and in an attempt to avoid prosecution he returned the completed driver declaration form to Cleveland Police and named an unlicensed male as the driver at the time of all three incidents.

Applicant Ref - 119125 and his representative Mr M Vaines were in a attendance at the meeting and had been provided with a copy of the Committee report prior to the meeting and given the opportunity to make representation.

The report detailed:

- Applicant Ref - 119125's background and details of his offences.

Attached to the report were copies of:

- A copy of Applicant Ref - 119125's application and DVLA driving licence.

- Copies of previous Licensing Committee meeting minutes and decision letter.

- A copy of a letter from Applicant Ref - 119125.

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

The Committee considered the report, appendices and oral evidence given, by Applicant Ref - 119125 and his representative Mr Vaines with regard to Applicant Ref - 119125's previous actions which lead to the revocation of his private hire driver's licence.

The Committee noted that Applicant Ref - 119125 had been caught speeding on three occasions and also attempted to pervert the course of justice by declaring an unlicensed driver as the person responsible. The Committee also noted that Applicant Ref - 119125 had accepted responsibility for the three speeding offences and had been issued with only 3 DVLA penalty points on his driving licence as a result of the incident.

During the meeting Applicant Ref - 119125 was specifically asked by the Committee if he had any pending police enquires, whether that be a motoring or other police investigation to which Applicant Ref - 119125 responded that he did not have any matter pending with the police.

The Committee deliberated over their decision as to whether they were satisfied at this time that Applicant Ref - 119125 was a fit and proper person to hold a licence. The Committee noted that Applicant Ref - 119125 had offered to complete a driver improvement course at his own expense should the Committee be minded to grant Applicant Ref - 119125's licence. Whilst Applicant Ref - 119125 had only received 3 DVLA penalty points it was considered that the speeding offences were serious owing to the fact that on one occasion Applicant Ref - 119125 had been doing 47 mph in a 30 mph zone and on a second he had been doing 39 mph in 30 mph zone.
Members considered the Councils guidelines as contained in the Licensing Policy and the individual circumstances of Applicant Ref - 119125's application. Taking into consideration that Applicant Ref - 119125 had not received any further motoring convictions since 2011, Members deemed Applicant Ref - 119125 to be a fit and proper person, subject to him successfully completing the Councils Driver Improvement Course, at his own expense. On successful completion of the Driver Improvement Scheme Applicant Ref - 119125's licence would be issued. However it was explained to Applicant Ref - 119125 that if he was later found to have had any relevant matters pending during the time of the Committee Hearing or be convicted of any further motoring offences, then the matter would be brought back before the Committee who would be invited to consider Applicant Ref - 119125's continued fitness to hold a licence.

Members explained to Applicant Ref -119125 that as a professional driver Applicant Ref - 119125 should drive his vehicle with due care and attention at all times, taking into account the safety of his passengers, other road users and pedestrians.
L
5/15
Consideration was given to a report for Members to determine what action to take in relation to an application for a private hire
driver's licence from an applicant who previously been convicted of an IN10. (Using a vehicle uninsured against third party risks).

Members were informed that Applicant Ref - 139969 was not in attendance at the meeting and agreed to defer the hearing to a future meeting of this Committee.
L
6/15
Consideration was given to a report for Members to determine what action to take in relation to an application for a private hire driver's licence from an applicant who in April 2013, had a previous application approved by Members with a warning, however at the time an outdated version of the guidelines on the relevance of convictions relating to sexual offences was used. The applicant discontinued his application and was never actually licensed.

Applicant Ref - 118592 was in a attendance at the meeting and had been provided with a copy of the Committee report prior to the meeting and given the opportunity to make representation.

The report detailed:

- Applicant Ref - 118592's background and details of his offences.

Attached to the report were copies of:

- A copy of Applicant Ref - 118592's application and DVLA driving licence.

- A copy of minutes and decision letter from a previous meeting approving Applicant Ref - 118592's initial application.

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

The Committee considered the report, appendices and oral evidence given, by Applicant Ref - 118592.

Members listened carefully to what Applicant Ref - 118592 had to say with regard to the matters disclosed on his Disclosure and Barring Service Certificate as well as the 3 penalty points he had received on his DVLA driving licence for driving with a defective tyre and also Applicant Ref - 118592's conviction for driving with no insurance. Members noted that Applicant Ref - 118592 had failed to disclose the 3 penalty point's which he had received for driving with a defective tyre during his last application.

During the meeting Applicant Ref - 118592 was specifically asked by the Committee if he had any pending police enquires whether that be a motoring or other police investigation to which Applicant Ref - 118592 responded that he did not have any matter pending with the police.

The Committee deliberated over their decision as to whether they were satisfied at this time that Applicant Ref 118592 was a fit and proper person to hold a licence. The Committee noted that, whilst the caution against Applicant Ref - 118592 was from 2008 - some 7 years ago - there would have been sufficient grounds under the Council's guidelines to refuse his application as it was a sexual offence and the Council's Relevance of Convictions, Cautions, Reprimands, Warnings, Complaints and Character states; "Applicants with a conviction, caution, reprimand or final warning for indecent exposure, indecent assault, importuning or any sexual offence, would normally be refused a licence".

Members did note that Applicant Ref - 118592 had appeared before them in 2013 when Applicant Ref - 118592 was deemed to be a fit and proper person and his licence was granted at that time. It was noted however that Applicant Ref - 118592 did not proceed any further with that application. After considering the individual circumstances of Applicant Ref - 118592's application and taking into consideration that he had been deemed fit and proper in 2013 the Committee were of the view that there were exceptional circumstances in Applicant Ref - 118592's case to depart from their guidelines and decided to grant his licence subject to a written warning.

As a licensed driver with this Authority Applicant Ref - 118592 was reminded that he must comply with all of the Authority's Conditions of Private Hire Drivers Licence and in particular Applicant Ref - 118592 was reminded of the condition "to behave in a civil and orderly manner at all times and not engage in any activities of a sexual nature whilst acting as a driver of any vehicle licensed by the Council"

In addition if Applicant Ref - 118592 was later found to have any relevant matters pending at the date of the Committee hearing then that matter would be brought back before the Committee who would be invited to consider Applicant Ref - 118592's continued fitness to hold a licence.
L
7/15
Consideration was given to a report for Members to determine what action to take in relation to an application for a private hire
driver's licence from an applicant who had previously been licenced by this Authority but had allowed his licence to lapse. He had made two previous applications, in 2013 and 2014, which had been
refused by officers in accordance with the Council's policy on convictions. He submitted a further application in January 2015.

Applicant Ref - 063056 was in a attendance at the meeting and had been provided with a copy of the Committee report prior to the meeting and given the opportunity to make representation.

The report detailed:

- Applicant Ref - 063056's background and details of his convictions.

Attached to the report were copies of:

- A copy of Applicant Ref - 063056's application and DVLA driving licence.

- A copy of a refusal letter relating to a previous application dated 20th November 2013.

- A copy of a statement from Applicant Ref - 063056 dated 19th September 2014.

- A copy of a refusal letter relating to a previous application dated 14th October 2014.

- A copy of a statement from Applicant Ref - 063056 dated 5th January 2015.

- A copy of a letter dated 6th January 2015 from Applicant Ref - 063056's representative Mr Vaines.

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

The Committee considered the report, appendices and oral evidence given, by Applicant Ref - 063056 and his representative Mr Vaines during the meeting. The role of the Committee was to determine if Applicant Ref - 0630556 was considered a fit and proper person to hold a private hire drivers licence with this Authority.

Members considered carefully the serious nature of repeated driver related offences in July and August 2009 which occurred over a short period of time, leading to a custodial sentence for Applicant Ref - 063056.

Applicant Ref - 063056 provided Members with conflicting information with regard to his food hygiene convictions. Applicant Ref - 063056 originally stated that he was only the manager in charge of a takeaway premise in Stockton on the night an inspection took place, however records showed that Applicant Ref - 063056 admitted to Environmental Health Officers that he was in fact a partner in the business and his name was on the Food Business Registration Application form. Applicant Ref - 063056 had since admitted that he was a partner. Applicant Ref - 063056 contested before the Committee that as this conviction concerned a food hygiene prosecution it was not relevant to his application for a private hire driver's licence. The Committee did not accept that contention and were of the opinion that the conviction was relevant to Applicant Ref - 063056's fitness to hold a private hire drivers licence. It was apparent to the Committee that each time Applicant Ref - 063056 had become involved in a business whether that be a garage business or a food business he had been prosecuted for criminal offences.

The Committee noted that Applicant Ref - 063056 had made a personal statement giving details of the circumstances regarding his convictions and driving offences. The Committee were not minded to go behind the convictions and none of the circumstances submitted in Applicant Ref - 063056's statement gave any justification for the offences.

The Councils guidelines on the relevance of convictions and character give time periods after which applicants may be deemed to be a fit and proper person. It did not automatically follow that once applicants pass the trigger dates that applicants are automatically deemed fit and proper. The Committee considered each case on its individual merits. In the particular case of Applicant Ref - 063056's case and previous record of convictions and offences it was deemed to be very serious and as such the totality of his offences was deemed relevant when considering his fitness to hold a private hire drivers licence.

Due to Applicant Ref - 063056's history of convictions, and in line with the Council's Private Hire and Hackney Carriage Licensing Policy and related guidelines it had been resolved that Applicant Ref - 063056's application was refused under the provisions of Section 51(1) (a) of the above-mentioned Act, on the grounds that he was not considered to be a fit and proper person at this time, to hold a driver's licence.

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