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 was growing cannabis in the house;
· His children had been there when the argument leading to his battery conviction occurred. His wife added that it was the smoking of cannabis in the presence of their children that had led to her losing her temper;
· He acknowledged that one their children was particularly vulnerable as she was autistic but said that such things create difficulties.
No questions were asked by the Section Leader (Licensing).
The Chair invited MA to make a final statement. MA said that he was happy that the Sub-Committee had given him a fair opportunity and that they had afforded his wife the chance to explain the circumstances leading to the battery conviction. He thought that the Sub-Committee could see the type of person that he was.
MA, his wife and the Section Leader (Licensing) left the room to allow the Sub-Committee to determine the matter.
The Chair invited MA, his wife and the Section Leader (Licensing) back into the Hearing.
The Chair detailed the decision of the Sub-Committee.
That, having considered all the evidence presented at the Hearing, both written and oral, the Sub-Committee is not satisfied that you are a fit and proper person and therefore, in accordance with Section 51 of the Local Government (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1976, have decided not to grant RK a Private Hire Vehicle Driver’s Licence. This decision is made in accordance with paragraphs 5.1.12(a) and 5.1.3(a) of the guidelines relating to relevance of convictions and breaches of licence conditions agreed by the Licence Committee on 25 July 2012.
The Applicant has a right of appeal, against the decision of the Sub-Committee, to the Magistrates’ Court within 21 days of receipt of this decision.
MA, his wife and the Section Leader (Licensing) left the room.
Having declared an interest in the following item, Councillor Rowley left the meeting.