The Applicant (JH) was in attendance.
The Licensing Officer outlined the background to the application as follows:
· The Applicant had a number of convictions, the most recent being April 2010 for battery and June 2013 for dishonestly using electricity and producing a controlled drug.
· The Applicant had previously held a licence in 2002 but it had been revoked in 2006, following complaints about the applicant plying for hire and an incident involving an argument and assault on passengers which was reported to the police, but no action taken;
· Previous applications had been made, but had been refused by the Committee;
· There was an incident where crack cocaine was found at the applicant’s address but the police had not been able to link the incident to the Applicant;
· The Applicant had circulated additional information to the Committee relating to his attendance at an anger management course and relating to his drugs test;
· The Licensing Policy stated that an applicant should be 5 years free of conviction after an incident involving drugs, 5-10 years free after battery/violence and 5 years free after theft;
· The Licensing Officer was recommending refusal and if the Committee were minded to approve the application, they needed to be convinced that JH was a fit and proper person who would not pose a risk to the safety of the public.
The Applicant made the following points in support of his application:
· He had not been tried/convicted or charged in relation to the crack cocaine incident and denied involvement in the possession of the drug;
· He had tried to be honest by presenting all the documentation relating to his prosecution papers and drugs results;
· He was asked by the previous committee to attend an anger management course and undertake a drugs test and he had done both of these things;
· The drugs test had proved that he had not consumed drugs but that there was a small trace caused by environmental contamination.
In response to questioning, the Applicant confirmed that he was working as a fitness trainer but wanted to return to his previous job as a Private Hire Driver.
At this point in the meeting, the Applicant and the Licensing Officers withdrew while the Committee considered the application and subsequently returned to hear the decision.
RESOLVED that the application be REFUSED for the grant of a private hire driver (PHD) licence in that in accordance with Section 51 of the Local Government (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1976 the Committee were not satisfied that the Applicant (JH) was a fit and proper person to hold such a licence for the following reasons:
· Although the last conviction was dated June 2013 the policy guides that there should be a period of at least 5 years free of conviction before an application will be entertained in respect of drug related convictions – a period of 5 –10 years free of conviction is needed before an application should be entertained.
· The Committee is not satisfied that he should be treated as an exception to Council policy without undermining it or the reasons that underlie it.
· The Results of the drug test were inconclusive as there was evidence of traces of drugs in the test.
· A series of offences over a period of time is more of a cause for concern as it shows a pattern of behaviour.
· The Committee expected to see more evidence to support that the applicant was fully rehabilitated as he had not discharged the burden of proving that he was a fit and proper person at this time.