Stockton-on-Tees Borough Council

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

Date:
Tuesday, 20th November, 2018
Time:
1.00pm
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 Eileen Johnson, Cllr Mrs Jean O'Donnell, Cllr Maurice Perry, 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 Applicant - Ref 137488 and his legal representative Mr Sabino.
Apologies for absence:
Cllr Ken Dixon, Cllr Elsi Hampton, Cllr Julia Whitehill,
Item Description Decision
Public
OLC
44/18
EVACUATION PROCEDURE
 
OLC
45/18
DECLARATIONS OF INTEREST
 
OLC
46/18
MINUTES FROM THE MEETING WHICH WAS HELD ON THE 2ND OCTOBER 2018
RESOLVED that the minutes be approved and signed as a correct record by the Chairman.
OLC
47/18
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
48/18
PRIVATE HIRE DRIVER APPLICATION - 137488
  • Report and Appendicies (36M/bytes)
RESOLVED that Private Hire Driver Applciation - Ref 137488 be refused for the reasons as stated above.

Preamble

ItemPreamble
OLC
44/18
The Evacuation Procedure was noted.
OLC
45/18
There were no declaraions of interest.
OLC
46/18
Consideration was given to the minutes of the Other Licensing Committee meeting which was held on the 2nd October 2018 for approval and signature.
OLC
48/18
Members were asked to consider a report and determine what action to take in relation to Private Hire Driver Applicant - Ref 137488 who had had a previous private hire driver licence revoked by this Authority.

Applicant - Ref 137488 was in attendance at the meeting alongside his legal representative Mr Sabino and 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 the incident resulting in the revocation of Applicant - Ref 137488's private hire drivers licence.

- A copy of Applicant - Ref 137488's application.

- A summary of an interview with Applicant - Ref 137488 and his previous employer.

- A copy of various letters.

- A copy of a witness statement.

- A copy of a disclosure statement from Cleveland Police.

- A copy of a transcript of an interview between Middlesbrough Licensing Officers and Applicant - Ref 137488.

- A copy of a letter to Applicant - Ref 137488 detailing the outcome of a court hearing from his solicitor.

- A copy of a summary transcript of an interview between Stockton Borough Council Licensing Officers and Applicant - Ref 137488.

- Further copies of two witness statements from Cleveland Police.

- A copy of a police interview transcript.

- A copy of Applicant - Ref 137488's defence statement.

- A copy of various maps.

The role of the Committee was to determine if Applicant - Ref 137488 was considered a fit and proper person to be granted a private hire drivers licence with this Authority.

The Committee noted that Applicant - Ref 137488 had submitted an application for a private hire drivers licence and that Section 51(1) (a) of the Local Government (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1976 instructs a Local Authority 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.

The Committee had regard to the report, appendices, video evidence and the oral submissions given by Applicant - Ref 137488 and his Solicitor, Mr Sabino, who made submissions on Applicant - Ref 137488's behalf.

The Committee considered the matter on the civil burden of proof i.e. on the balance of probabilities:-

The Committee noted that Applicant - Ref 137488 had been found not guilty of criminal offences namely:-

- A charge of sexual assault under Section 3 of the Sexual Offences Act 2003 (intentionally touch a female - no penetration). Applicant - Ref 137488 had stood trial at Teesside Crown Court and was found not guilty;

- Charges brought by Middlesbrough Borough Council alleging that Applicant - Ref 137488 had plied for hire and driven without insurance. Applicant - Ref 137488 had stood trial for these offences in June 2018 before Cleveland Magistrates Court and was found not guilty after a submission of no case to answer was made after the prosecution had presented their case.

The Committee noted that they had a wide discretion in considering evidence, including hearsay evidence, when determining whether Applicant - Ref 137488 was a fit and proper person to hold a licence.

The Committee had regard to the facts and made the following findings:-

That Applicant - Ref 137488 had logged off from working for Boro Cars at 00:53 hours after undertaking an 8-9 hours shift and that his intention was to go home to his wife and family, however Applicant - Ref 137488 proceeded to pick up a lone female in North Ormesby, Middlesbrough.

The Committee noted that the lone female was in an upset and vulnerable state after falling out with her family and that the lone female told Applicant Ref 137488 that she wanted to find a hotel to stay in for the night as she was not allowed back to her family home.

The lone female was sitting in the back of Applicant - Ref 137488's vehicle and Applicant - Ref 137488 drove the lone female to Normanby and Eston in an attempt to find a hotel for her to stay. Applicant - Ref 137488 then drove to an area known as Dockside Road, which was a quiet and secluded area of South Bank in an industrial area.

Applicant - Ref 137488 stopped his vehicle and got into the back of his vehicle with the lone female passenger, put his arm around the lone female passenger uninvited and kissed the hand of the lone female passenger, also uninvited.

Applicant - Ref 137488's vehicle was then approached by two men. Applicant - Ref 137488 got out of his vehicle and the men proceeded to video the interaction between themselves and Applicant - ref 137488 using their mobile phone, which was later posted on YouTube (the footage was shown to the Committee);

The Committee noted that the two men were concerned for the safety of the lone female and she was taken by them to Middlesbrough Police Station

Applicant - Ref 137488's explanation for picking up the female, driving her around and getting into the back of his vehicle with her was that he was acting in a caring and protective role. The Committee did not accept that and found on the balance of probabilities that Applicant - Ref 137488's intentions were of a more sinister and inappropriate nature.

The Committee resolved that given their findings Applicant - Ref 137488 was not deemed to be a fit and proper person to hold a licence.

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