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Agenda Item No. 6

The Vale of Glamorgan Council

 

Licensing Committee: 1st September 2015

 

Report of the Director of Visible Services and Housing

 

For Information Report- Mr John Lewis

 

Purpose of the Report

  1. To update Members of an appeal made to the Cardiff Magistrates Court in relation to the revocation of Mr Lewis's Hackney Carriage and Private Hire Driver's Licences.

Recommendation

  1. That Members note the contents of this Report.

Reason for the Recommendation

  1. To ensure Members are aware of the outcome of the Appeal

Background

  1. Members will recall a report that was presented to the Licensing Committee on 12th  May 2015, in relation to Mr Lewis's continued fitness to hold Hackney Carriage and Private Hire Driver's Licences.
  2. The report contained evidence that Mr Lewis was persistently presenting Licenced Vehicles for testing with tyres that were either below the legal limit or tyres that had other damage that precluded the vehicle from passing the test.
  3. After presentation of the report and Mr Lewis's representations, the Committee deliberated the matter in private and resolved to revoke his Hackney Carriage and Private Hire Driver's Licences.
  4. On 12th May 2015, The Vale of Glamorgan Council received notification that Mr  Lewis had made an appeal to the Magistrates Court in relation to the Licensing Committee's decision.
  5. That appeal was heard in the Cardiff Magistrates Court, where the bench upheld the Licensing Committee's decision.
  6. A cost application was made and the Magistrates awarded costs in the sum of £250.00 to be paid at a rate of £50.00 per month with the first payment to be made in 7 days.

Relevant Issues and Options

  1. None

Resource Implications (Financial and Employment)

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

Sustainability and Climate Change Implications

  1. None

Legal Implications (to Include Human Rights Implications)

  1. There is no judicially approved test of fitness and propriety, and accordingly, a number of local tests have been developed throughout Wales and England. These tend to be based on a test similar to the following:

"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, to get into the vehicle with this person alone?"

If the answer to this question (or a similar test) is an unqualified "Yes", then the test is probably satisfied. If there are any doubts in the minds of those who make the decision, then further consideration should be given as to whether this person is a fit and proper person to hold such licences.

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

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.
  1. 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.

  1. 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 so". 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.
  2. 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

  1. 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)

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

Corporate/Service Objectives

  1. 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

  1. The proposals in this report are in accordance with the Policy Framework and Budget.

Consultation (including Ward Member Consultation)

  1. None

Relevant Scrutiny Committee

  1. Housing and Public Protection.

Background Papers

None

Contact Officer

Amanda Ewington. Licensing Team Leader 01446 709782

Officers Consulted

Richard Price - Legal

Responsible Officer:

Miles Punter, Director of Visible Services and Housing

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