Agenda item

Application for the Suspension/Revocation of a Hackney Carriage/Private Hire Driver's Licence

Report of the Assistant Director of Commissioning.

Minutes:

The Committee heard the application in accordance with the Council’s agreed procedure.

 

The Hearing took place in the presence of the appellant who was accompanied by his wife, the Licensing Officer and Mr P Mason, the Council’s Solicitor.

 

The Chairman made introductions and explained the procedures to the appellant.  The appellant confirmed he had received all relevant documentation.

 

Tiffany Bentley, Licensing Officer presented the report which was to consider the suspension/revocation of a Hackney Carriage/Private Hire driver’s licence in accordance with Section 61(1) (b) of the local Government (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1976 under any other reasonable cause, due to the incurrence of a motoring conviction, the failure to notify the Licensing Authority of that conviction and the use of a mobile phone whilst driving a vehicle. 

 

The principal consideration was whether the safety of the public might be at risk through the appellant’s driving and possibly evasive behaviour in not disclosing his motoring offences.

 

She tabled a letter to Members received by her that morning from the appellant dated 10 June 2011, advising the Licensing Team that he had received a fixed penalty on his licence in respect of the offence of driving his personal vehicle whilst talking on his mobile phone.  She was confident that the letter had not been received by Breckland Council prior to the date of the hearing, as had it have been received, it would have been included as an Appendix to the report.  The hearing would still have taken place even if the letter from the appellant had been received advising them of his motoring conviction. 

 

The appellant stated his date of birth was 13 May 1954 and not as stated in the report.  He explained he had contested the conviction. Whilst he admitted to Members it was not a safe procedure, he explained he was listening to an MP3 file in his open topped sports car and had the phone propped up against his ear with both hands on the steering wheel.  He agreed it was an offence, but he had not actively been engaged in a phone conversation. 

 

He had written and posted a letter to the Licensing Team on 10 June 2011 advising them he had received a fixed penalty.  He had done everything he could to remain in compliance with the Authority’s regulations and complied completely with them. The first he had been notified of the Licensing Team’s concern was when he provided his driving licence to them.  He was made aware of the hearing date on 21 January 2012.  He had offered to send in his letter dated 10 June 2011, and could have done that anytime between June 2011 and when he provided his licence in January 2012, but the Licensing Team had chosen not to avail themselves of the letter.  He was a confident PC user and could prove the date and time he had written the letter.  He had undertaken the necessary corrective action to avoid any further incidences of the same nature, by having had a Parrot CK100 fitted to his taxi following the conviction.

 

The appellant had taken early retirement from his former post in April 2011 and taxi driving was now his only employment which he undertook 3-4 nights a week; he described himself as being semi-retired.

 

Having heard all the evidence, the Committee withdrew to consider their options.  The Solicitor explained that the Members would apply the statutory test to the application to determine if they considered that the appellant was a fit and proper person to perform the duties expected of a Breckland Council Hackney Carriage/Private Hire driver.

 

After considering the matter the Committee returned.

 

The Solicitor advised the following findings of fact :

 

1.                  The appellant had held a Breckland Council Hackney Carriage/Private Hire driver’s licence since June 2010.

2.                  He had been convicted of a motoring offence  in June 2011.

3.                  Since the date of conviction, the appellant had taken remedial action to ensure that the safety of his driving had improved.

4.                  The offence for which he had been convicted of did not relate to a time when he had been driving a Breckland licensed vehicle.

5.                  The Committee made no findings on receipt or non receipt of a notification letter of the offence dated 10 June 2011, a copy of which was presented to the Hearing on 22 January 2012.

 

In the circumstances it was :

 

RESOLVED that the appellant’s Hackney Carriage/Private Hire driver’s licence be  suspended for a period of one week, which the Committee believed to be an appropriate sanction under Section 61(1)(b) of the Local Government (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1976 as the appellant had failed to give the relevant notice of his conviction within the required time period.

 

The Chairman advised the appellant the decision was subject to Appeal to the Magistrates Court.  The Appeal period was 21 days from the date on which the notice of the decision was given.