Stockton-on-Tees Borough Council

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Other Licensing Committee (ceased to operate 22/05/2019) Minutes

Date:
Tuesday, 22nd January, 2019
Time:
10:00 am
Place:
Council Chamber, 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 Derrick Brown, Cllr Chris Clough, Cllr Evaline Cunningham, Cllr Ken Dixon, Cllr Eileen Johnson, Cllr Mrs Jean O'Donnell, Cllr Maurice Perry, Cllr Julia Whitehill, Cllr David Wilburn, Cllr Norma Wilburn, Cllr Bill Woodhead MBE
Officers:
Jonathan Nertney(HR,L&C), Leanne Maloney-Kelly, Sarah Whaley(DCE),
In Attendance:
Private Hire Driver Ref - 119522 and his legal representative Mr Wilson. Combined Hackney Carriage and Private Hire Driver Ref- 074134 and his legal representative Mr Schiller, and 2 witnesses.
Apologies for absence:
Cllr Elsi Hampton,
Item Description Decision
Public
OLC
49/18
EVACUATION PROCEDURE
 
OLC
50/18
DECLARATIONS OF INTEREST
 
OLC
51/18
MINUTES FROM THE OTHER LICENSING COMMITTEE MEETINGS WHICH WERE HELD ON THE 12TH AND 20TH NOVEMBER 2018.
RESOLVED that the minutes be approved and signed as a correct record by the Chairman.
OLC
52/18
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
OLC
53/18
PRIVATE HIRE DRIVER 119522
  • Report
  • |
    Appendix 1
  • |
    Appendix 2
  • |
    Appendix 3
  • |
    Appendix 4
  • |
    Appendix 5
RESOLVED that Private Hire Driver - Ref 119522's Private Hire Drivers Licence be suspended for up to six weeks review period for the reasons as detailed above with immediate effect.
OLC
54/18
COMBINED HACKNEY CARRIAGE AND PRIVATE HIRE DRIVER - 074134
  • Report and Appendicies (4M/bytes)
RESOLVED that Combined Hackney Carriage and Private Hire Driver - Ref 074134's combined hackney carriage and private hire driver licence be revoked for the reasons as detailed above with immediate effect.

Preamble

ItemPreamble
OLC
49/18
The Evacuation Procedure was noted.
OLC
50/18
There were no declarations of interest.
OLC
51/18
Consideration was given to the minutes of the Other Licensing Committee meetings which were held on the 12th and 20th November 2018 for approval and signature.
OLC
53/18
Members were asked to consider a report and determine what action to take in relation to Private Hire Driver - Ref 119522, who had a previous history of convictions for speeding, and was granted a licence by this committee in November 2017, however Private Hire Driver - Ref 119522 had failed to notify this Authority of further convictions in line with the conditions of his private hire licence.

Private Hire Driver - Ref 119522 was in attendance at the meeting alongside his legal representative Mr David Wilson and was given the opportunity to make representation.

Committee papers and reports had been provided to all parties prior to the meeting.

The report detailed the following:

- Details relating to Private Hire Driver - Ref 119522's speeding convictions.

- A copy of a committee minute and decision letter which referred to the granting of Private Hire Driver - Ref 119522's licence.

- A copy of notification and explanations in relation to Private Hire Driver - Ref 119522's convictions.

- A copy of a summary transcript with Private Hire Driver - Ref 119522.

The role of the Committee was to determine whether Private Hire Driver - Ref 119522 remained a ‘fit and proper person' to continue to hold a private hire driver's licence following his declaration of motoring convictions at the renewal of his licence in November 2018.

Private Hire Driver - Ref 119522's previous history and warnings were also considered by the Committee.

The Committee had regard to the report appendices and oral submissions given by Private Hire Driver - Ref 119522 and his legal representative Mr David Wilson from A to Z Licensing.

Mr David Wilson made a request that the Committee agree to adjourn consideration of the matter until Private Hire Driver - Ref 119522 had obtained clarification from the Court as to the number of points on his DVLA driving licence.

Currently the DVLA records held, detailed that Private Hire Driver - Ref 119522 had two separate offences, one with an offence date of 15 November 2017 when his licence was endorsed with 4 penalty points and one with an offence date of 14 September 2017 when his licence was endorsed with 5 penalty points. The Committee noted Private hire Driver - Ref 119522 had initially notified the Council of the two speeding convictions in November 2018. Private Hire Driver - Ref 119522 had therefore had a period of almost two months in which to make enquiries with the Magistrates Court to seek clarification as to whether they had made an administrative error in the recording of the points.

The Committee was minded to give Private Hire Driver Ref - 119522 an opportunity to make enquiries and clarify whether an administrative error had been made in the recording of his points.

The Committee resolved that under the provisions of Section 61(1)(b) of the above mentioned legislation Private Hire Driver - Ref 119522's licence to drive private hire vehicles should be suspended at this time while enquiries were made.

As the evidence currently showed Private Hire Driver - Ref 119522 had 9 penalty points the Committee therefore resolved that public safety was a relevant consideration and that under the provision of Section 61(2B) the suspension of Private Hire Driver - Ref 119522's licence was with immediate effect.

The Committee were mindful that licence suspensions should not be imposed in an open ended manner and therefore directed that this suspension be reviewed by Officers in six weeks' time. If at that time Private Hire Driver - Ref 119522 had obtained new information which may be relevant for the Committee to consider then the matter would be brought back before the Other Licensing Committee.

If Private Hire Driver - Ref 119522 did not obtain any new information then he would also be required to appear before the Committee again so that Members could consider all of the facts including any representations which Private Hire Driver - Ref 119522's representative may wish to make on his behalf.

If Private Hire Driver - Ref 119522 did obtain any information earlier than the six week suspension review period then Private Hire Driver - Ref 119522 was asked to bring this to the attention of Licensing Officers immediately.

The Committee advised Private Hire Driver - Ref 119522 that it was in his interests to ensure that he made all necessary enquiries as quickly as possible in order that the suspension of his licence was not in place for a lengthy period of time.

The Committee recommended to Private Hire Driver - Ref 119522 that he make enquiries with all relevant agencies who may be able to assist, which included the Magistrates Court, the Police and the DVLA. Each of those bodies should maintain information in relation to the matters for which Private Hire Driver - Ref 119522 appeared before the Courts along with his subsequent convictions and licence endorsements.
OLC
54/18
Members were asked to consider a report and determine what action to take in relation to Combined Hackney Carriage and Private Hire Driver - Ref 074134 who had had a complaint made against him by a customer and a parking attendant.

The report had previously been scheduled to be heard at a hearing on 12 November 2018 but was deferred at the request of Combined Hackney Carriage and Private Hire Driver - Ref 074134's representative, who informed Officers that he and his client were unable to attend the November meeting and the subsequent Other Licensing Committee meeting of 18 December 2018.

Combined Hackney Carriage and Private Hire Driver - Ref 074134 was in attendance at the meeting alongside his legal representative Mr Schiller and given the opportunity to make representation.

Also in attendance was complainant 1, Ms R and complainant 2, Mr H. Both complainants were given the opportunity to make representation.

Committee papers and reports had been provided to all parties prior to the meeting.

The report detailed the following:

- Details of a complaint received from a female passenger.

- A copy of a statement from Ms R.

- A copy of a statement from Mr H.

- A copy of a summary transcript with Combined Hackney Carriage and Private Hire Driver - Ref 074134.

- A copy of various committee minutes and letters relating to Combined Hackney Carriage and Private Hire Driver - Ref 074134.

- A copy of a warning letter to Combined Hackney Carriage and Private Hire Driver - Ref 074134.

The Committee considered the report, appendices and oral evidence given at the meeting.

The role of the Committee was to make findings on the balance of probabilities and determine whether such findings were relevant to Combined Hackney Carriage and Private Hire Driver 074134's fitness to hold a combined hackney carriage and private hire drivers licence with this Authority.

The Committee considered all of the documentary evidence including the report appendices and oral evidence given from Ms R and Mr H.

The Committee also considered the oral evidence submitted by Combined Hackney Carriage and Private Hire Driver - Ref 074134 and the submissions made on his behalf by his legal representative Mr Schiller.

The Committee noted that they had to consider the evidence on the civil burden of proof, i.e. on the balance of probabilities. The evidence was focused on two distinct incidents: - (1) the incident involving Combined Hackney Carriage and Private Hire Driver - Ref 074134 and Mr H; and (2) the incident involving Combined Hackney Carriage and Private Hire Driver - Ref 074134 and Ms R.

The Committee noted that Ms R did not witness the initial incident between Combined Hackney Carriage and Private Hire Driver - Ref 074134 and Mr H. Ms R was informed of what had happened by her son who had witnessed the incident.

It was also noted that Mr H was not intending to make a complaint and only made his statement after he had been contacted by Licensing Officers. Combined Hackney Carriage and Private Hire Driver - Ref 074134 claimed Mr H was lying but he did not give a reasonable explanation as to why Mr H would make up or embellish his statement. Combined Hackney Carriage and Private Hire Driver - Ref 074134 confirmed that he did not know Mr H and had not met him prior to the incident.

Ms R explained to the Committee the events leading up to the situation in which she found her son to be distressed and crying in Combined Hackney Carriage and Private Hire Driver - Ref 074134's vehicle. Ms R felt extremely upset by the situation and complained to Combined Hackney Carriage and Private Hire Driver - Ref 074134 Operator and then to the Council.

Combined Hackney Carriage and Private Hire Driver - Ref 074134 claimed Ms R was lying but did not give a reasonable explanation for Ms R to make up or embellish her statement.

The Committee found both Mr H and Ms R to be honest and credible witnesses.

The Committee found that :-

- Combined Hackney Carriage and Private Hire Driver - Ref 074134 was parked in an area which he knew was restricted to service vehicles and permit holders only. Combined Hackney Carriage and Private Hire Driver - Ref 074134 was the driver and it was his decision as to where he parked his vehicle;

- Combined Hackney Carriage and Private Hire Driver - Ref 074134 was approached by Mr H who was undertaking his reasonable and lawful employment duties;

- Combined Hackney Carriage and Private Hire Driver - Ref 074134 was verbally abusive to Mr H;

- Combined Hackney Carriage and Private Hire Driver - Ref 074134 got out of his vehicle, most likely in a fit of temper, and approached Mr H in an aggressive manner;

- Combined Hackney Carriage and Private Hire Driver - Ref 074134's manner led Mr H to perceive that he may be head-butted and Mr H stepped back;

- There was no physical contact and Combined Hackney Carriage and Private Hire Driver - Ref 074134 did not physically head-butt Mr H, however Mr H did perceive that he may be head-butted and that could constitute common assault;

- Combined Hackney Carriage and Private Hire Driver - Ref 074134's car doors were locked when he moved his vehicle. It was unclear whether this was a deliberate action by Combined Hackney Carriage and Private Hire Driver - Ref 074134 or whether the vehicles doors locked automatically;

- Combined Hackney Carriage and Private Hire Driver - Ref 074134 activated the central locking opening the car doors which enabled Ms R to open the car door allowing her son to get out;

- Ms R's son was distressed and crying. Ms R's son was affected by the incident;

- Combined Hackney Carriage and Private Hire Driver - Ref 074134 spoke to Ms R's 8 year old son telling him to sit down and shut up, whilst also using inappropriate language;

- Combined Hackney Carriage and Private Hire Driver - Ref 074134 also shouted and used inappropriate language when referring to Mr H;

- Combined Hackney Carriage and Private Hire Driver - Ref 074134 was not truthful when he was interviewed.

- Combined Hackney Carriage and Private Hire Driver - Ref 074134 lied to officers and the Committee;

- Combined Hackney Carriage and Private Hire Driver - Ref 074134 had not shown any remorse and had not offered an apology.

The Committee noted that Combined Hackney Carriage and Private Hire Driver - Ref 074134 had a disciplinary record which was clearly relevant. In 2013 the Committee considered revoking Combined Hackney Carriage and Private Hire Driver - Ref 074134's licence which highlighted previous concerns with Combined Hackney Carriage and Private Hire Driver - Ref 074134's ability to control his emotions and that he may have had an issue with anger control. At that time the Committee took a step back from revoking Combined Hackney Carriage and Private Hire Driver - Ref 074134's licence giving a final written warning and requiring him to attend anger management sessions with a counsellor. Combined Hackney Carriage and Private Hire Driver - Ref 074134 was warned that he "should be in no doubt that any future incidents of a similar nature may result in your licence been revoked". In 2016 a further complaint was received and Combined Hackney Carriage and Private Hire Driver - Ref 074134 received a further written warning.

Combined Hackney Carriage and Private Hire Driver - Ref 074134's behaviour on 29/09/18 and his deliberate attempt to lie to officers and the Committee was extremely serious and an aggravating factor. It was clearly relevant to whether Combined Hackney Carriage and Private Hire Driver - Ref 074134 remained a fit and proper person to hold a licence.

The Committee resolved that given their findings and Combined Hackney Carriage and Private Hire Driver - Ref 074134's previous disciplinary history, a suspension of his licence was not appropriate.

The Committee resolved that there was sufficient reasonable cause to revoke Combined Hackney Carriage and Private Hire Driver - Ref 074134's licence.

Combined Hackney Carriage and Private Hire Driver - Ref 074134 was no longer deemed to be a fit and proper person. Given the concerns over Combined Hackney Carriage and Private Hire Driver - Ref 074134's short temper and ability to control his emotions the Committee resolved that public safety was a relevant consideration and the revocation was with immediate effect and Combined Hackney Carriage and Private Hire Driver - Ref 074134 was therefore no longer authorised to drive such vehicles.

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