An interpreter was present for this application.
The Licensing Officer introduced the report and drew attention to the following:
· KS applied to renew his licenses on 17 August 2021, his previous licences expired on 14 September 2021. He has held a licence since 2004.
· He appeared at PSP in 2018 concerning an assault conviction.
· New national guidance and BCC policy means that we should not license someone with a violent offence conviction for a period of 10 years.
The appellant gave the following evidence:
· There is a historical offence in the papers regarding refusal to take a disabled person in his taxi. This was because the disabled person’s carer refused to come in the taxi with her and KS thought it would be unsafe to carry them on their own. This case was dismissed. There is another about stopping on a crossing, which was caused by an unruly customer refusing to leave the vehicle.
· Regarding the charge of assaulting a police officer, this was a case of self-defence. During an argument with his wife, neighbours called the police. KS’ wife has poor English skills and said that he had attacked her, which was factually inaccurate. KS was cooperating with the police but refused to be handcuffed, at which point the officer pepper sprayed him. He reacted by pushing the officer away to protect himself.
· A detailed record of the incident was presented at the previous PSP by his solicitor.
· As included in the papers, the judge said that KS did not punch the officer as accused but did push him which would still count as assault. He agreed to accept a 12-week suspended sentence.
After questioning from the sub-committee, the following information was confirmed
· The previous PSP decision was to exempt KS from the policy. There was a barrister present at that meeting so there was extensive discussion on the facts of the case.
· The wheelchair incident was in 2005 and was overturned on appeal.
· KS was advised to settle for the 12-week sentence by solicitors due to the difficulty of arguing a case against the police. KS regrets this as he now has a high-profile criminal conviction which has made his life more difficult.
The applicant was given the opportunity to sum up, then parties left the room while the sub-committee deliberated.
That KS’s applications to renew his Hackney Carriage Driver (HCD) and Private Hire Driver (PHD) licence both be granted.
The matter of KS’s conditional discharge for the offence of assault was considered by the Committee on 20 November 2018 when it was determined he could be treated as an exception to Council policy and was still a fit and proper person to be licensed.
Nothing had changed since the last committee hearing and there had been no other concerns since regarding KS’s ability to satisfy the fit and proper person test. The conditional discharge reflects that the offending conduct was considered to be at the less serious end of the scale and would not debar KS from being a fit and proper person to hold a licence. He would therefore be similarly treated as an exception to the new policy.