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Agenda Item No. 9

 

The Vale of Glamorgan Council

 

Licensing Committee: 30th September 2014

 

Report of the Director of Development Services

 

For Information Report- Ibrahim Gashi

 

Purpose of the Report

1.         To inform Members of action taken by Officers of the Licensing Section, and the decision of Cardiff Magistrate's Court in relation to the revocation of Mr Ibrahim Gashi's Hackney Carriage and Private Hire Driver's Licences.

Recommendation

That Members note the contents of this Report.

Reason for the Recommendation

To ensure members are aware of the action taken by officers under delegated authority and the Magistrate's Court.

 

Background

2.         On 2nd July 2007 Mr Ibrahim Gashi was granted Hackney Carriage and Private Hire Driver's Licences by the Licensing Committee.

3.         On 2nd April 2014 information was received from South Wales Police Notifiable Occupations Unit that Mr Gashi had been arrested in connection with an allegation made against him.

4.         In line with the Vale of Glamorgan's Hackney Carriage and Private Hire Driver's Revocation Policy Mr Gashi was invited to attend the Civic Offices to discuss the matter.

5.         Mr Gashi met with the Head of Service, Public Protection and the Licensing Team Leader in relation to the Police notification.

6.         As a result of the explanation of the incident offered by Mr Gashi at that meeting his Hackney Carriage and Private Hire Driver's Licences were revoked under delegated authority with immediate effect.

7.         On 28th April 2014 the Licensing Section received notice that an appeal had been lodged at the Magistrates Court.

8.         On 1st July 2014 the appeal was heard at Cardiff Magistrate's Court where the decision to revoke Mr Gashi's licenses was upheld.  A costs order was made in the sum of £1,500.

Relevant Issues and Options

9.         The magistrates stated they had heard all the material evidence and treated this hearing as a new hearing. When making their decision they focused in on the Local Authorities test when granting a licence. That being, ‘Would you, as a member of the licensing Committee, allow your son or daughter, spouse or partner, mother or father, grandson or granddaughter or any other person for whom you care, get into the vehicle with this person alone?’

10.      The Magistrates found that Mr Gashi, was acting as a public servant in the course of his employment and it was he who instigated sexual acts with a fee paying passenger who was either drunk or very emotional. Under these circumstances, they upheld the decision of the council. The appeal was refused and a costs order was made in the sum of £1,500. 

Resource Implications (Financial and Employment)

11.      Resources directed to the administration and determination of Taxi Licences may be recovered through Taxi Licensing Fees and Charges.

Sustainability and Climate Change Implications

12.      None.

Legal Implications (to Include Human Rights Implications)

13.      Section 61 of The Local Government (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1976 states;

14.      Notwithstanding anything in the Act of 1847 or in this Part of this Act, a district council may suspend or revoke or (on application therefore under section 46 of the Act of 1847 or section 51 of this Act, as the case may be) refuse to renew the licence of a driver of a hackney carriage or private hire vehicle on any of the following grounds that he has since the grant of the licence-

·         been convicted of an offence involving dishonesty, indecency or violence; or

·         been convicted of an offence under or has failed to comply with the provisions of the Act of 1847 or this part of this Act; or

·         any other reasonable cause.

Section 61 (3) of the Local Government (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1976 provides any driver aggrieved by a decision of a district council under this section may appeal to a magistrates' court.

 

15.      Section 52 of the Road Safety Act 2006 amended Section 61 of the Local Government (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1976 to permit the Council to revoke or suspend a driver's licence with immediate effect “where in the opinion of the Council it is in the public interest to do soâ€.  The Council may alternatively suspend or revoke a driver’s licence under the same section, which will allow the licence to continue for a period of 21 days during which time the driver may appeal the decision and if he does appeal may continue to drive a Hackney Carriage or Private Hire vehicle until the appeal is heard.

16.      Section 61 (2B)of the Act further states;

If it appears that the interests of public safety require the suspension or revocation of the licence to have immediate effect, and the notice given to the driver under subsection (2)(a) of this section includes a statement that that is so and an explanation why, the suspension or revocation takes effect when the notice is given to the driver.

Crime and Disorder Implications

17.      Under Section 17 of the Crime and Disorder Act 1998 the Council has a statutory duty to consider crime, disorder and antisocial behaviour implications whilst regulating licensing activities.  The Licensing Authority is committed to reducing crime, disorder and anti social behaviour across the Vale of Glamorgan.  Reducing crime and the fear of crime is important to the community, especially vulnerable members of the community such as the very young and elderly.

Equal Opportunities Implications (to include Welsh Language issues)

18.      The Council is obliged to apply its licensing conditions on an equitable basis in the case of all applications.

Corporate/Service Objectives

19.      To protect the health and safety of the community by ensuring businesses meet legislative requirements, controlling infectious disease, encouraging responsible dog ownership, controlling pests and regulating animal health and welfare. To maintain a fair and equitable trading environment.

Policy Framework and Budget

20.      This report is for noting by the Licensing Committee.

Consultation (including Ward Member Consultation)

21.      None.

Consultation (including Ward Member Consultation)

22.      None.

Relevant Scrutiny Committee

23.      Housing and Public Protection

Background Papers

24.      None.

Contact Officer

Amanda Ewington. Licensing Team Leader 01446 709782

 

Officers Consulted

Richard Price, Lawyer, Legal Services 01446 709409

 

Responsible Officer

D R Thomas, Director of Development Services

 

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