The Chair invited Colin Parr, Head of Governance, and the Applicant (SA) into the Hearing. Chris Howell, Licensing Manager, joined the meeting as an observer. The Chair made introductions and outlined the procedure to be followed. SA 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 5.1.3(b) and 5.1.4(a).
All parties were invited to question the Head of Governance on the report. No questions were asked.
SA confirmed that the information contained within the report was accurate.
In response to a question from the Head of Governance, SA said that his licence issued by Birmingham City Council had not been revoked, it wasn’t renewed as he was convicted in June 2013 and it expired the following month.
The Chair invited SA to make representations.
SA stated that his DR20 and AC10 convictions were the result of a big mistake that he made following a night out for a friend’s birthday. He had got home at around 3am, found that he couldn’t get to sleep and decided to drive to a shop to buy cigarettes. It was Easter Sunday but the roads were very icy, he crashed into a lamppost and was concussed. Half of the car was on the road so he walked approximately 200 yards home to fetch his brother. However, the Police knocked on his door and could see his cuts and bruises. He was also experiencing bad back pain. It was the biggest mistake he had ever made and resulting in him losing his job and everything. He had only left the vehicle because he did not have a phone on him.
All parties were invited to question the Applicant on his submission.
In response to questions from the Sub-Committee, SA stated the following:
· At the time of the incident he was employed as a taxi driver licensed by Birmingham City Council but he was not working that night;
· As a professional driver he knew that he should not have left the scene of the accident but he was not thinking that way at the time;
· He had been driving at a speed of between 30 and 40 mph around a bend in a 30 mph zone;
· The Police arrived at his home approximately 10 minutes after the crash and they contacted the taxi base to check that he had not been working;
· It was the biggest mistake that he had ever made and he understood that the outcome could have been much worse;
· A number of firms had said that they would employ him should he be granted a licence;
· He applied to Wolverhampton following recommendations from friends as having applied to Birmingham in June 2016 he had been told that the wait for his application to go to committee could be up to 12 months.
No questions were asked by the Solicitor.
In response to a question from the Head of Governance, SA said that he had pleaded guilty to DR20 and had been to rehabilitation. He had not drank alcohol since the offence and had also quit smoking.
The Chair invited SA to make a final statement. SA said that when he had obtained a badge in 2009 his life had been completely on track. He had now been happily married since 2014. He had been in the same job since 2013 but got laid off every July without pay. His wife was pregnant and due to give birth at the end of July/start of August so without work he would have to claim benefits. He wanted to buy a house and get his life back on track and gaining a licence would enable that. He truly regretted the incident for which he was convicted.
SA and the Section Leader (Licensing) left the room to allow the Sub-Committee to determine the matter.
The Chair invited SA 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 SA 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.