The Chair invited Elaine Moreton, Section Leader (Licensing) and the Applicant (AR) into the Hearing, made introductions and outlined the procedure to be followed. AR confirmed understanding of the procedure.
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 5.1.6(a), 5.1.13(a) and 5.1.3(a).
All parties were invited to question the Section Leader (Licensing) on the report. No questions were asked.
AR confirmed that the information contained within the report was accurate.
The Chair invited AR to make representations.
With the agreement of the Chair, AR circulated a character reference from an employer, M.M Travel, for whom he worked as a public service vehicle (PSV) driver.
AR stated that prior to his January 2014 convictions he had been dealing with the death of a relative who had passed away in a car crash. The convictions related to one incident involving family members, which was a joint enterprise, for which he had been driving. He had not been involved in any further trouble following the incidents for which he was convicted. He was currently working as a PSV driver undertaking school runs, a job which he had gained following support from his Probation Officer. He was now married with two children and was in the process of moving to a new area. He had changed his ways since his convictions and was no longer involved with the wrong crowd.
All parties were invited to question the Applicant on his submission.
In response to questions from the Sub-Committee, AR stated the following:
· Regarding his 2014 convictions, the people around him had egged him on. He no longer socialised with that sort of person;
· The ‘wrong crowd’ that he had referred to were the people that he had hung around with in 2009, when he had been convicted for possession of cannabis. He was willing to undertake drug tests to prove that he was not a user;
· He did not lose his temper easily. As a PSV driver he had experienced drunken passengers and knew not to argue with them as it was essential to retain control of the situation;
· He had work lined up should he be granted a licence. A representative of that firm had supported him at his mini-panel hearing;
· He had undertaken school runs for both a Dudley taxi firm and as a PSV driver. They were challenging jobs as most of the passengers had special needs but they were jobs that he enjoyed;
· Should he be granted a licence and following his move to Bilston, he intended to work for a Wolverhampton based taxi firm and no longer work in Dudley;
· His children were both under 5 years of age. He married 2 years ago;
· Other family members were also convicted of the same offences as he was. He had remained in the car during the incident but was punished as a joint enterprise. The family had since reconciled.
No questions were asked by officers.
The Chair invited AR to make a final statement. AR said that he would like one chance, even on trial, to prove himself and to earn money for his family.
AR and the Section Leader (Licensing) left the room to allow the Sub-Committee to determine the matter.
The Chair invited AR and the Section Leader (Licensing) back into the Hearing.
The Chair detailed the decision of the Sub-Committee.
Resolved: That, having considered all of 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 of 12 months. The Licence is subject to AR passing the knowledge test and a satisfactory medical, if not already completed. The Licence is also subject to review by Licensing Services in six months time.
The Council’s Solicitor detailed the applicant’s right of appeal to the Magistrates’ Court against the decision of the Sub-Committee, within 21 days of receipt of the decision, and the potential costs of doing so.
AK and the Section Leader (Licensing) left the room.