The Chair invited Elaine Moreton, Section Leader (Licensing) and the Applicant (SH) into the Hearing, made introductions and outlined the procedure to be followed. SH 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 5.1.10(b) and 5.1.3(b).
All parties were invited to question the Section Leader (Licensing) on the report. No questions were asked.
SH confirmed that the information contained within the report was accurate.
The Chair invited SH to make representations.
With the agreement of the Chair, SH circulated a character reference from his current employer, KK Products & Foams Ltd, for whom he worked as a delivery driver.
SH said that he understood that he had quite a few convictions and he made no excuses for them. Having detailed 3 offences committed as a minor, he stated the following regarding his adult convictions:
2008 – Gave a false identity;
2010 – Whilst driving a rented vehicle an unmarked Police car, with officers wearing hooded sweatshirts, blocked him. Thinking he was being car-jacked he drove away and jumped 2 red lights trying to escape. When a marked Police car arrived he pulled over straight away. The Judge understood the position that he had been put in;
2011 – Drink driving whilst banned. Again gave a false name. That was his last driving conviction and he had had a clean licence since then;
2012 – Burglary – He, along with many others, had entered a cannabis factory that had already been broken into, solely out of curiosity.
All parties were invited to question the Applicant on his submission.
In response to questions from the Sub-Committee, SH stated the following:
· He had been driving his brother’s car for some of his driving offences. One of which was committed when he incorrectly believed that he had lost his licence;
· He had kept insurance costs as low as possible by being a secondary driver on his brother’s policy;
· He had committed an offence whilst subject to a Community Order;
· Regarding his drink driving conviction, at the time he had felt that he was doing the right thing as his friends had also been drinking. He had again given the wrong name to the Police;
· At least 8 people were arrested for entering the cannabis factory. They had all been together and had been bored as it was Ramadan and they had nothing to do;
· He was not the brightest of people but he had been easily influenced when he was younger. He had grown up since then, he was nearing 30 years of age, had a wife and children and did not drink or smoke. He had stopped smoking cannabis in 2008 as it made him paranoid;
· He did not view his driving offences lightly and he recognised that people could have been hurt. All of those offences were in the same part of his life;
· He was currently working as a courier;
· His final driving conviction, for driving without insurance, happened when he incorrectly believed that he was banned. Had he known that he wasn’t, he would have ensured that he was insured.
No questions were asked by the Solicitor.
In response to questions from the Section Leader (Licensing), SH stated the following:
· He thought that his 2010 convictions were only 1 conviction. He could not remember the exact details;
· He had been on a drug rehabilitation course for around 2 days as it could not be determined who stole the cannabis;
· He was unsure of the specifics regarding how he had obtained insurance following 4 years of motoring convictions.
The Chair invited SH to make a final statement. SH said that he knew that he had a bad past, that he had no excuses, only he was to blame and he admitted to it all. However, he had grown up since then and had held a clean driving licence for 4 years. He understood the role of the Sub-Committee and its need to ensure the safety of passengers but he had worked as a courier for 18 months, entrusted with good and money, had not had any crashes nor been caught on his phone whilst driving. It was his fault that he had to face the Sub-Committee but he hoped that Members could see beyond his past.
SH and the Section Leader (Licensing) left the room to allow the Sub-Committee to determine the matter.
The Chair invited SH 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 SH 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 5.1.10(b) and 5.1.3(b) 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 SH left the meeting.