PUBLIC PROTECTION LICENSING COMMITTEE
Minutes of a meeting held on 5th July, 2016.
Present: Councillor H.C. Hamilton (Vice-Chairman), Councillors G.A. Cox, E. Hacker, Mrs. A.J. Preston, Ms. R.F. Probert, R.P. Thomas and Mrs. M.R. Wilkinson.
126 APOLOGIES FOR ABSENCE -
These were received from Councillors A.G. Powell (Chairman), Mrs. P. Drake, Mrs. V.M. Hartrey, K. Hatton, Mrs. A. Moore and J.W. Thomas.
127 MINUTES -
RESOLVED - T H A T the minutes of the meeting held on 10th May, 2016 be approved as a correct record.
128 DECLARATIONS OF INTEREST -
No declarations were received.
129 EXCLUSION OF PRESS AND PUBLIC -
RESOLVED - T H A T under Section 100A(4) of the Local Government Act 1972, the press and public be excluded from the meeting for the following items of business on the grounds that they involve the likely disclosure of exempt information as defined in Part 4 of Schedule 12A (as amended) of the Act, the relevant paragraphs of the Schedule being referred to in brackets after the minute heading.
130 APPLICATION TO GRANT HACKNEY CARRIAGE AND PRIVATE HIRE VEHICLE DRIVERS LICENCE - L (EXEMPT INFORMATION - PARAGRAPHS 12, 13 AND 14) (DEH) -
The Licensing Team Manager presented the report, the purpose of which was for the Committee to consider L’s application for the grant of Hackney Carriage and Private Hire Drivers Licences. The matter had been referred to the Committee because there was a policy guideline in place in respect of a grant of a licence that had previously been the subject of disciplinary action, resulting in the revocation of L’s Hackney Carriage and Private Hire Drivers Licences.
The Committee was advised that after careful consideration of the facts and any representations from L, it was requested to determine whether L was a fit and proper person to hold a licence on satisfactory completion of the application process.
At a meeting of the former Licensing Committee on 12th May, 2015, L’s licences were revoked following consideration of a disciplinary matter. The minutes from that meeting were attached at Appendix A to the report.
L subsequently appealed the decision to revoke the licences at Cardiff and the Vale of Glamorgan Magistrates Court. The Licensing Committee’s decision was upheld by the Magistrate.
At its meeting on 4th March, 2014, the former Licensing Committee adopted a policy on the treatment of convictions, cautions and charges. L was not prosecuted in relation to the incident but it led to the revocation of his licence in 2015, however, there was a clear and serious breach of condition. Section 17.1 of the policy of convictions, cautions and charges stated: “An applicant who had a conviction or other matters to be considered for breach of legislation, bye-law or licence condition is unlikely to be granted a licence unless a period of at least 12 months had elapsed since the most recent breach”.
Following the presentation of the report L was afforded the opportunity to make representations to the Committee.
L stated that he had no excuses around his failure to ensure that his vehicles were properly maintained. He advised that he had gone through some very serious personal problems and it was his failure to notice signs that he was overdoing things. Since then, he had taken steps to ensure that these mistakes would not happen again and he expressed his regret for giving an impression that he did not care. He advised that he had been a taxi driver for 20 years, and up until last year, he had not had any issues and he was therefore asking for his licence to be re-introduced.
L’s representative informed the Committee that they had always asked for fairness, but this was an extraordinary case. L’s representative commented that there were drivers in the Vale who were known to have convictions for violence and dishonesty, and that some of these drivers had been given a ‘second chance’. Therefore the same chance should be given to L. He referred to last year’s hearing, in which, it was hoped that L would have been given a 4 week suspension, so when the licence was revoked this sent a clear message to L. He also stated that over a period of 4 weeks, a taxi driver would expect to take in around £300.00 per week, so such a ban was like a £1000.00 fine.
The Vice-Chairman asked if L had any further comments to add. L stated that he was truly sorry, and because of the ban, he had become very paranoid over the state of his vehicles.
The Legal Officer asked L, if he was aware of the policy around the conviction of breach of Code 17.1, which stated a minimum of 12 months must have elapsed before a person’s licence was reintroduced. This therefore ran from August 2015 and so it had not been a period of 12 months since his licences were revoked. In response to these comments, L’s representative stated that the original licence had been revoked back in May 2015 so it had been well over a year since L had been able to drive. Furthermore, it would be unlikely that L’s licence would be reintroduced until after August 2016, in which the period of 12 months would have been served.
The Vice-Chairman asked L and his representative whether they had any further comments to make and asked if they had received sufficient opportunity to present their case. L and his representative confirmed that they were satisfied with the opportunity afforded to them. There being no questions from Members, the Committee then debated the matter in private.
On return, the Vice-Chairman advised those present of the Committee’s decision as below.
RESOLVED - T H A T L’s application for a Hackney Carriage and Private Hire Vehicle Drivers Licences be granted and a written formal warning letter be issued in relation to L’s future conduct.
Reason for decision
The Committee had considered L’s application for a driver’s licence and had taken into account L’s representations.
The Committee had applied the Test of Fitness and Propriety, as set out in the report, and taken into account the evidence presented, the Committee was persuaded that L had satisfied the Test of Fitness and Propriety.
The Committee considered that there was a need to issue a caveat of the consequences of any future failure to meet legal obligations in relation to the regular checking of vehicles.