Agenda item

Report of an Application for the Grant of a Private Hire Driver Licence MD

Minutes:

The Applicant was in attendance with a translator, Councillor Jama and a supporter from the Bristol Somalian Forum.

 

The Licensing Officer outlined the background to the application as follows:

·         The Applicant had applied for a PHD Licence;

·         The DBS check had revealed a spent conviction in 2005 relating to an immigration offence and a further conviction in 2016 relating to the importation and  possession of drugs;

·         A previous application in 2017 had been refused by the Committee;

·         The Applicant had not declared having been known under a different name but the convictions recorded different spellings of his name;

·         The Council’s Policy in relation to criminal behaviour for drug related issues was that an application should be refused until five years after the date of the last conviction.  In the case of the Applicant this would be November 2021.

 

The Applicant outlined his case as follows through his interpreter:

·         He was hoping to get his licence so he could earn his living and support his family;

·         He was sorry for what happened, had learnt from his mistakes and wanted to move on;

·         He was trustworthy and was no risk to the public.

 

In response to questioning from the Committee, the Applicant confirmed:

·         The incident had happened at a difficult time in his life following the death of his father;

·         He had been caught travelling from Nairobi to Dublin in possession of the drug Khat;

·         He was not aware that the drug was illegal in England or Ireland as its use was normal in his community;

·         He had previously held a licence for 10 years and had been trusted with transporting children;

·         He had not driven as a PHD since June 2017 when his previous licence expired.

 

The Licensing Officer confirmed that Khat had become illegal in the UK in 2014.

 

The representative from the Bristol Somalian Forum spoke in support of the Applicant’s character and confirmed that he was a hardworking member of the community and wanted his licence back so he could provide for his family.  

 

Councillor Jama spoke in support of the Applicant, a member of her constituency, and raised the following points:

·         he was a very helpful and positive person with a good reputation in the local community;

·         He was very remorseful about the incident which had tarnished his life and he had already paid the price for the crime;

·         She considered 5 years to be excessive in view of the fact that the drug involved was Category C, Khat, which had been legal in England until 2014 and did not compare with other drugs such as Heroin and Crack Cocaine;

 

At this point in the meeting the Licensing Officer and Applicant withdrew from the meeting while the Committee considered the application.  Everyone returned to the meeting to hear the decision.

 

RESOLVED

(1)   that the application for the grant of a Private Hire Driver Licence be APPROVED for the following reasons:

The Committee agreed to make an exception to the Council Policy in relation to criminal behaviour for a drugs related offence and grant a licence before the 5 years had expired as:

1. The Applicant had been remorseful;

2. Khat was a Category C drug and had been legal in the UK until 2014 and it was possible the Applicant was not aware it was illegal when he committed the offence;

3. The Applicant was not considered to be a risk to the safety of the public;

4. The Applicant had already spent 2 years without a Licence.

 

(2)   That the granting of the Private Hire Drivers Licence be subject to:

The Applicant undertaking the following fit and proper person checks prior to a licence being issued;

(i) Group 2 medical examination report;

(ii) Gold Standard Course;

(iii) DVLA Mandate and single use DVLA check code;

(iv) The Knowledge Test

A written warning on the Applicant’s file to say that any future issues would need to be brought to the attention of the Committee.

 

Supporting documents: