The Chair invited Elaine Moreton, Section Leader (Licensing) and the Applicant (MA) into the Hearing, made introductions and outlined the procedure to be followed. MA 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 5.1.13(b) 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.
With the agreement of the Chair, MA circulated a character reference from Bilash Indian Cuisine Restaurant, for whom he had worked.
MA said that his conviction for wounding dated back to 1984, when he was very young. The trouble had been nothing to do with him, his uncle had started the fight but the people he had confronted had attacked MA, who had then be forced to defend himself. Once arrested, he was terrified of the Police officers but had not wanted to show weakness. He was embarrassed about the incident as he was not a bad person and did not seek trouble. An incident from 30 years ago was continuing to haunt him and he only hoped that the Sub-Committee would consider the length of time since the conviction, that he had never been in trouble since then, that he had ran his own business in which he dealt with the public and that he had been a trustee of a charitable organisation for 15 years.
MA continued, stating that his motoring conviction was the biggest mistake that he had ever made. The letter had been misplaced and he was preoccupied as his son was getting married and his wife was unwell. He was ashamed that he had driven at 40 mph in a 30 mph zone, a very expensive mistake financially that resulted in 6 points on his licence.
As he got closer to retirement age he wanted a job that would allow him to do shorter hours. He had given up his restaurant job when he completed his theory test 1 year ago.
All parties were invited to question the Applicant on his submission.
In response to questions from the Sub-Committee, MA stated the following:
· His conviction did not result from a family feud. His uncle had been nice but quite rough and the trouble had occurred outside of his house. MA was there as he travelled to work with his uncle. MA had been wounded in the incident;
· He had pleaded guilty following advice that he would only receive a fine;
· Everyone involved was charged;
· He recognised the seriousness of his conviction;
· He had had no choice but to defend himself;
· As a restaurant employee he handled people very well. Customers had not been stroppy as it had a very good clientele. He joked with customers and got to know them;
· He was a trustee of an education and religious learning centre;
· The fight had consisted of punching and kicking rather than weapons;
· He had not been forced to sign a Police statement claiming that he was guilty but he had been scared;
· Having received a first letter regarding his speeding offence he had called the DVLA but then, having children at home, it was misplaced. He then received a Court Notice which led to a fine;
· Resigning from the restaurant had not been a risk as he had become bored of the work. In the period since then he had sought work at 2 supermarkets.
No questions were asked by the Solicitor.
In response to questions from the Section Leader (Licensing), MA stated the following:
· After resigning from the restaurant he had looked for other jobs before applying for a PHVD licence in September 2016;
· He had failed to send the necessary paperwork to the DVLA, which had led to his conviction;
· The wounding for which he was convicted were caused by punching to the head and nose, resulting in blood.
The Chair invited MA to make a final statement. MA said that should he be granted a licence he would be carrying out a public service would need to look after his clients and himself. He would try to be a better person until he was very old.
MA and the Section Leader (Licensing) left the room to allow the Sub-Committee to determine the matter.
The Chair invited MA 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 both written and oral, provided at the hearing, the Sub-Committee is not satisfied that MA is a fit and proper person and therefore, in accordance with Section 51 of the Local Government (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1976, a Private Hire Vehicle Driver’s Licence is not granted. This decision is made in accordance with paragraphs 5.1.13(b) 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 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.
The Section Leader (Licensing) and MA left the meeting.