Agenda item

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

Report of the Assistant Director of Commissioning.

Minutes:

Cllr  Duffield declared a personal interest by virtue of having had business contact with the appellant.

 

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 partner, 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 motoring convictions and the failure to notify the Licensing Authority of those convictions.

 

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

 

The Solicitor advised Members they had enough information before them, and would not take into account the spent convictions when determining the case.

 

The appellant explained how the incident with the van occurred in August 2011 along with reasons as to why he exceeded the statutory speed limits on two occasions, as shown in Appendix C.  He had not asked the owner of the van if it was insured as he had presumed he would be able to drive it under his own car insurance. He accepted that he did not inform the Licensing Authority of the first two offences when he should have done, as he only realised it was a requirement at a later date when he had been advised by his employer that he should have done so.  If the decision was taken to suspend his licence, his partner would have to drive at night to provide for his family.  As well as taxi driving during the day and night himself, he undertook roofing work when it was available.

 

A Councillor could not understand why he was not aware that he had to notify Breckland Council in writing of any conviction, caution or driving offence imposed on him during the period of the licence within seven days of the conviction, as he had signed to say he acknowledged receipt of the White Book which contained the Byelaws and Conditions applicable.

 

When questioned further as to whether he did or did not know that he should have informed the Licensing Authority of his convictions, he confirmed that he had known.

 

The appellant had held a Hackney Carriage/Private Hire driver’s licence about 13-14 years previously when he undertook taxi driving in Watton.  His current taxi work included school contracts, and he and his partner shared one vehicle.

 

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 able to drive and 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 was granted a Breckland Council Hackney Carriage/Private Hire driver’s licence in June 2009.

2.                  The appellant signed the appropriate form relating to that licence and conditions on 1 June 2009.

3.                  The current DVLA licence indicated four convictions.

4.                  The appellant failed to notify the Licensing Authority of any of the convictions within the relevant time period.

5.                  The appellant was unable to give an adequate explanation for the failure to notify.

 

In the circumstances it was :

 

RESOLVED that the appellant’s Hackney Carriage/Private Hire driver’s licence be suspended for a period of three months, the reason being the appellant had failed to reach the standards required by the holder of a Breckland Council Hackney Carriage/Private Hire driver’s licence.

 

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.