To consider the application for the renewal of a Hackney Carriage Driver’s Licence.
AA was in attendance accompanied by a Solicitor.
The Chair explained the procedure that would be followed and everyone introduced themselves.
The Licensing Officer introduced the report and summarised it for everyone. It was noted that the recent offence relates to the Public Order Act.
The Solicitor put the case for AA highlighting the following:
· Members do have the discretion to make an exception to their Policy which is a guideline for Members
· Referring to the offence, AA had collected the passengers who asked for different drop off points
· He encountered difficulties with the passengers who were abusive and hostile to him, and had issues with the route he took
· A woman passenger had slammed the car door
· He admitted that he had used abusive language towards the passengers; this had been a response to racist abuse from one of them
· The Police were called
· He was convicted under the Public Order Act Section 4A relating to causing offence or stress
· He was under a lot of stress at the time of the offence – his wife was expecting their first child and he was experiencing financial difficulties
· References were tabled
· AA has been subjected to racism in the past and had reported incidents to the Police; SARI had investigated and supported him
· Referring to condition of the vehicle, he confirmed that the door was damaged and became detached from the rail; it was not however a danger to any passengers
· Referring to AA’s failure to report his conviction to Licensing, he confirmed that it should have been reported but that AA thought it was spent – although it was not; he has never withheld other information from Licensing over a 12 year period
· AA is 35 years old, married and has a child; he works part time and is taking a banking diploma; he is genuinely remorseful for what he did and does not present a danger to the public
AA made a short statement explaining that he had experienced lots of racist incidents in the past; he just wants to work as a taxi driver
AA answered questions highlighting the following:
· If a similar incident occurred in the future he would not get involved
· He usually works only days, rather than nights, when there is less likelihood of conflict
· He is not a danger to the public; he has in the past gone above and beyond what is expected of him; although there is a level of frustration, in future he would ‘phone the Police and manage the situation better
· He believes that he has changed in the last 3 years and would behave more reasonably
His Solicitor summed up AA’s case.
The Licensing Officer, AA and Solicitor left the room whilst the Committee made its decision.
The Members considered very carefully all of the written and verbal evidence presented to them.
The Members noted their Policy which specified a period of 8 to 10 years free of conviction. The Members also noted that he had been charged with two offences and was found guilty of the more serious one. They had concerns about what happened especially as it involved passengers.
They felt that AA needed to provide more evidence concerning anger management and associated behaviour.
Everyone returned to the room to hear the decision announced.
Resolved – that the application for renewal of a Hackney Carriage Driver’s Licence made by AA be refused as he has not convinced the Council that he is a fit and proper person to hold such a licence.