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Agenda and draft minutes

Venue: Committee Room 1 - 3rd Floor - Civic Centre. View directions

Contact: Mike Hooper, Democratic Services Officer  Email: mike.hooper@wolverhampton.gov.uk, 01902 551250

Items
No. Item

1.

Apologies for absence

Minutes:

There were no apologies for absence.

2.

Declarations of interest

Minutes:

Councillor Rowley declared a personal interest in agenda item 8, Application for a Hackney Carriage Driver’s Licence, as the Ward Member for Blakenhall, where the applicant lived.

3.

Exclusion of press and public

To pass the following resolution:

That in accordance with section 100A (4) of the Local Government Act 1972 the press and public be excluded from the meeting for the following item of business as it involves the likely disclosure of exempt information falling within paragraph 3 of schedule 12A to the act relating to the business affairs of particular persons.

 

Minutes:

 

Resolved:     That the Press and public be excluded.

4.

Application for a Private Hire Vehicle Driver's Licence (14:00)

Minutes:

The Sub-Committee had received a report regarding an application for a Private Hire Driver Licence, which had been circulated to all parties in advance of the meeting.  The matter had been referred to the Sub-Committee in accordance with Guidelines Relating to Relevance of Convictions and Breaches of Licence Conditions, specifically paragraphs 5.1.6(a), 5.1.13(a) and 5.1.3(a).

 

Prior to the meeting, the Democratic Services Officer had received a call from the wife of the applicant (AR) in which she said that her husband had been abroad when notice of the Hearing had been received and that through oversight on her part she had neglected to notify him of it.  He had returned to the country that morning and was heavily jet-lagged.  She intended to speak to him ahead of making a second call to the Democratic Services Officer to inform him of whether or not AR intended to attend.  No second call was received and AR was not present.

 

Resolved:     That consideration of the application be deferred to a future Sub-Committee meeting.

5.

Application for a Private Hire Vehicle Driver's Licence (14:30)

Minutes:

The Chair invited Elaine Moreton, Section Leader (Licensing) and the Applicant (AK) into the Hearing, made introductions and outlined the procedure to be followed.

 

The Section Leader (Licensing), outlined the report regarding an application for a Private Hire Driver Licence, which had been circulated to all parties in advance of the meeting.  The matter had been referred to the Sub-Committee in accordance with Guidelines Relating to Relevance of Convictions and Breaches of Licence Conditions, specifically the accumulation of 9 penalty points on his driving licence.

 

All parties were invited to question the Section Leader (Licensing) on the report and in response to a question from the Chair she confirmed that the 6 penalty points accrued in July 2016 had been due to driving with the incorrect insurance.

 

AK confirmed that the information contained within the report was accurate.

 

The Chair invited AK to make representations.

 

AK stated that on the evening of the driving offence referred to he had been working in a fast food outlet and, due to staff shortages, his boss asked him to make a home delivery which he did in his own car.  During the journey he was stopped by the Police and charged with driving with the incorrect insurance.  He had been unaware that he was committing an offence but accepted the 6 points and a fine.  He had been driving for 10 years without any other problems.  Driving a taxi would afford him the flexibility to both work and take care of his unwell wife and their children.

 

All parties were invited to question the Applicant on his submission.

 

In response to questions from the Sub-Committee, AK stated the following:

 

·     The Police had pulled him over as one of the car’s back lights were not working;

·     Whilst he would prefer to work in Birmingham to enable him to take and collect his children from school, he also intended to look for work in Wolverhampton;

·     His boss had not checked if he had the correct insurance.  Following the incident AK left his job as he felt he could not work for that person.  AK paid the fine himself;

·     The 3 points received for speeding was for exceeding the speed limit in an area in which the limit had been reduced from 40 mph to 30 mph;

·     He had not yet approached any taxi companies for work.

 

The Chair invited the Section Leader (Licensing) to question AK.  No questions were asked.

 

The Chair invited AK to make a final statement.  AK said that he would appreciate a positive outcome and that it would help him and his family greatly.

 

AK and the Section Leader (Licensing) left the room to allow the Sub-Committee to determine the matter.

 

The Chair invited AK and the Section Leader (Licensing) back into the Hearing.

 

The Chair detailed the decision of the Sub-Committee.

 

Resolved

          That, having considered all the evidence presented at the Hearing, both written and oral, the Sub-Committee agree to grant a Private Hire Vehicle Driver’s Licence for a period  ...  view the full minutes text for item 5.

6.

Change to the Order of Agenda Items

Minutes:

The Sub-Committee had received a report regarding an application for a Private Hire Driver Licence, which had been circulated to all parties in advance of the meeting.  The matter had been referred to the Sub-Committee in accordance with Guidelines Relating to Relevance of Convictions and Breaches of Licence Conditions, specifically paragraphs 5.1.4(a), 5.1.6(a), 5.1.12(a) and 5.1.3(a).

 

The Democratic Services Officer had received notice that MA had arrived at the wrong venue and would therefore be delayed.

 

Resolved:     That consideration of the application be deferred to later in the day to afford MA the opportunity to attend.

7.

Application for a Private Hire Vehicle Driver's Licence (15:30)

Minutes:

The Chair invited Elaine Moreton, Section Leader (Licensing) and the Applicant (RK), accompanied by MN, a private hire vehicle driver in Birmingham, into the Hearing, made introductions and outlined the procedure to be followed.

 

The Section Leader (Licensing), outlined the report regarding an application for a Private Hire Driver Licence, which had been circulated to all parties in advance of the meeting.  The matter had been referred to the Sub-Committee in accordance with Guidelines Relating to Relevance of Convictions and Breaches of Licence Conditions, specifically paragraphs 5.1.10(b), 5.1.13(b) and 5.1.6(b).

 

All parties were invited to question the Section Leader (Licensing) on the report.  No questions were asked.

 

RK confirmed that the information contained within the report was accurate.

 

The Chair invited RK to make representations.

 

With the agreement of the Chair, RK circulated a character reference from his local Member of Parliament.  RK stated that at the time of his drug related offences he had been having a bad time and stress with his children and had smoked cannabis whilst playing snooker with friends, who he now stayed away from, but had found that it made him paranoid.  He no longer smoked it and would be willing to take a drug test to prove so.  He had never drank alcohol.  He had recently undertaken work in the community and worked with his local councillors.  He was a very trustworthy and honest person that needed a secure job to support a large family.  He added that he had never stolen from anyone.

 

MN added that he trusted RZ, he was an honest person and would be a good PHVD.  He needed the job to allow him to take care of his kids.

 

All parties were invited to question the Applicant on his submission.

 

In response to questions from the Sub-Committee, RK stated the following:

 

·     Although the cannabis conviction were 2 years apart, he had only taken it occasionally during a stressful time;

·     For the second drug offence the Police had found him parked up in a park smoking cannabis.  He was not driving.  He pleaded guilty;

·     At the time of the drug offences he had not recognised the bad example that he was setting for his children but he was now disgusted with himself.  He had not smoked cannabis since 2015;

·     He was currently a delivery driver for a takeaway restaurant on a zero hours contract;

·     He saw the key roles of a PHVD as being responsible, picking up the public, being nice, pleasant, loyal and respectful, providing customer service with a smile on his face and driving safely.  He would also assist any customers in need, such as disabled people;

·     He had approached a taxi company with a view to working for them;

 

No questions were asked by officers.

 

The Chair invited AK to make a final statement.  MN said that he knew a lot of PHVD drivers and thought that RZ would make a good one.  RZ said that his father had died when he was young and that  ...  view the full minutes text for item 7.

8.

Application for a Private Hire Vehicle Driver's Licence (15:00)

Minutes:

The Chair invited Elaine Moreton, Section Leader (Licensing) and the Applicant (MA), accompanied by his wife, into the Hearing, made introductions and outlined the procedure to be followed.

 

The Section Leader (Licensing), outlined the report regarding an application for a Private Hire Driver Licence, which had been circulated to all parties in advance of the meeting.  The matter had been referred to the Sub-Committee in accordance with Guidelines Relating to Relevance of Convictions and Breaches of Licence Conditions, specifically paragraphs 5.1.4(a), 5.1.6(a), 5.1.12(a) and 5.1.3(a).

 

All parties were invited to question the Section Leader (Licensing) on the report.  No questions were asked.

 

MA confirmed that the information contained within the report was accurate.

 

The Chair invited MA to make representations.

 

MA apologised for being late and the Chair assured him that it would not affect the Sub-Committee's consideration of the matter.

 

MA said that he had presented to the mini-panel a reference from a Birmingham based taxi company which supported his application.  He worked phenomenally hard for that company and he wanted to make a positive contribution to society.  Regarding his 2012 conviction for battery, his wife had taken offence to his actions and had reported him to the Police, quite rightly.  With regard to the fine and penalty points received for using a vehicle uninsured against third party risks, he had overlooked the insurance payments due to hardship.

 

All parties were invited to question the Applicant on his submission.

 

In response to questions from the Sub-Committee, MA stated the following:

 

·     The battery convictions was deemed to be an act of domestic violence;

·     He was of small physical stature and therefore if he encountered problematic customers it would be in his interest to be polite and to get them out of his vehicle in a nice manner at the end of their journey;

·     Regarding the conviction for battery, his wife had got angry with him for smoking cannabis.  His wife stated that she didn’t like him doing it and she began breaking plates.  He had then slapped her to calm her down.  She now felt that she should not have reported the incident to the Police;

·     He had grown 8 small cannabis plants for personal use only, not to sell.  His wife had informed the Police of them;

·     He felt that he should be granted a PHVD licence as he now had the burden of a family.  Although the term battery sounded bad on paper the incident was a gentle slap to calm his wife down.  He had since become a different person and would not have dragged his family to the meeting if he didn’t believe that to be true;

·     Regarding the insurance conviction, he had not renewed it due to a lack of funds.  He was now an organised person;

·     Driving would pay more than the clerical and customer complaints work that he currently undertook.

 

In response to questions from the Lead Lawyer, MA stated the following:

 

·     He had 3 children, 2 of whom were alive when he  ...  view the full minutes text for item 8.

9.

Application for a Hackney Carriage Driver's Licence (16:00)

Minutes:

The Chair invited Elaine Moreton, Section Leader (Licensing) and the Applicant (BS), accompanied by his solicitor, Mahmood Hussain of MH Solicitors (MH), into the Hearing, made introductions and outlined the procedure to be followed.

 

The Section Leader (Licensing), outlined the report regarding an application for a Hackney Carriage Driver’s Licence, which had been circulated to all parties in advance of the meeting.  The matter had been referred to the Sub-Committee in accordance with Guidelines Relating to Relevance of Convictions and Breaches of Licence Conditions, specifically paragraphs 5.1.10(b), 5.1.3(b) and 5.1.9.

 

All parties were invited to question the Section Leader (Licensing) on the report.  No questions were asked.

 

MH confirmed that the information contained within the report was accurate.

 

The Chair invited BS to make representations.

 

With the agreement of the Chair, MH circulated BS character references from his current employer and his place of worship, which included photographs of his community work.  Documents detailing the death of his child and the medical records of his other child were also circulated.

 

On behalf of BS, MH stated that BS was a fit and proper person and should be granted a licence.  He had driven taxis for almost 10 years prior to his 2000 conviction for indecent assault on a female 16 or over.  Since then he had only had one speeding offence.  The relevant conviction was the only really serious offence on his record.  He understood that it involved touching, which BS continued to deny, which was not to say that it was not serious.  The offence would today be categorised as the lowest of the 3 ‘sexual offence’ categories, at the bottom end of the spectrum and BS had served 3 months imprisonment and 3 months on licence.  It was a long time ago and no pattern of behaviour had occurred since then.  He was not a persistent offender and the guidelines stated that an applicant could be eligible for a licence after 7 years and the Sub-Committee had discretion to grant one.  For BS to face an indefinite ban would be to put the offence on a par with terrorism or murder.  He had previously twice been granted fit and proper person status and the circumstances should allow a lot of mitigation.

 

The reason for providing written evidence relating to the applicant’s existing child was to show the need for BS to have a job that enabled him to work flexible hours.  He needed to be able to visit his child whenever necessary.

 

BS had enjoyed his previous taxi work and was very eager to drive again.  He was sorry for occurances in the past.

 

All parties were invited to question the Applicant on his submission.

 

In response to questions from the Sub-Committee, BS stated the following:

 

·     The circumstances of the indecent assault conviction were that following a drop-off a couple at 3am, BS wound down his window to ask for the fare.  The couple were drunk and laughing and had left a rear door open so he  ...  view the full minutes text for item 9.

 


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