Agenda and draft minutes

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Items
No. Item

1.

Exclusion of the Public and Press

Consideration of reports containing exempt information within the meaning of section 100I and paragraph 1 part 1 Schedule 12A Local Government Act 1972.

Minutes:

RESOLVED that under section 100I of the Local Government Act 1972, the public be excluded for the following item of business on the grounds that it involved the likely disclosure of exempt information as defined in paragraphs 1 and 2 part 1 of Schedule 12A of the Act

2.

Determination of a Private Hire/Hackney Carriage Driver's Application

To determine a private hire/hackney carriage driver's application.

Minutes:

The Chair moved Item 7 forward in the proceedings.

 

The Enforcement Officer gave a summary of the report, which noted the applicant had made a false statement on his application form. He therefore did not meet the Council’s suitability criteria for new drivers. The applicant had attended an interview where he explained that his failure to answer a question correctlywas a genuine mistake and this was because he was in a genuine rush and had his medical to do that day.

 

Members noted that the answers to questions 10 and 12 on the application form were pre-filled by 24/7 Ltd, and it was incumbent upon applicants to cross ‘no’ out and answer differently if this statement was incorrect.

 

The applicant said the application day run by 2/7 had been a rush and he had had to leave to do his medical without properly completing the form.

 

At 10.55, the Panel retired to make its decision.

 

At 11.15, the Panel returned. The decision was read to the applicant.

 

 

DECISION NOTICE –

 

The application before the Panel today is the applicant’s application for a joint hackney carriage/PHV driver’s licence.  If successful, he has an offer of employment from 24 x 7 Ltd on the school contract side of the business.

 

We have had the opportunity of reading the officer’s report in this case, a copy of which has been served on the applicant, and we have also seen, as has he, the background documents annexed thereto, including an enhanced DBS Certificate dated 19th August 2019 showing three convictions. The two later ones are related and together they amount to a course of conduct giving us cause for serious concerns.

 

Conviction 1 on 29 April 1981 was for an offence of theft by an employee where the applicant was fined £150 and made to pay compensation of £22 and costs of £7.

Conviction 2 dated 12 November 1999 was for an offence of driving with excess alcohol where he was fined £300, ordered to pay costs of £55 and disqualified from driving for 36 months which was reduced to 27 months after completing an appropriate course. However, conviction 3 on 10 November 2000 was for an offence of driving whilst disqualified.   An appeal was dismissed and the applicant was imprisoned for 8 weeks, disqualified from driving for a further year and ordered to pay costs of £500.

 

However, we note the following responses to questions on the applicant’s application form:

Question 10 asks ‘have you ever been disqualified from driving or had your licence revoked?’   The answer given here was ‘no.’

Question 12 asks ‘have you ever been convicted of any offence (including motoring offences) including spent and unspent convictions in any Court or received a police caution?’   The answer given was ‘no’ however, two offences of ‘D/D’ and ‘Traffic lights’ were given to this question with no further answers.

 

In the light of the discrepancy between these answers and the information on his DBS records, the application was invited to attend  ...  view the full minutes text for item 2.

3.

Determination of a Private Hire/Hackney Carriage Driver's Application

To determine a private hire/hackney carriage driver's application.

Minutes:

The Licensing and Compliance Officer gave a summary of the report. The applicant had declared an offence of battery in 2016 for which she received a fine of £200.The applicant understood why her application was being referred and said that she has learnt a lesson following the conviction. The offence was 6 years ago during which her family were going through a rough time and there had not been any repeat offending.

 

The applicant said there was no excuse for what she had done. She noted while her family had been going through a bad time, things were better for her now.

 

At 11.30, the Panel retired to make its decision.

 

At 11.45, the Panel returned. The decision was read to the applicant.

 

 

DECISION NOTICE –

 

The application before the Panel today is the applicant’s application for a joint hackney carriage/PHV driver’s licence.  If successful, she has an offer of employment from 24 x 7 Ltd on the school contract side of the business.

 

We have had the opportunity of reading the officer’s report in this case, a copy of which has been served on the applicant, and we have also seen, as has she, the background documents annexed thereto, including an enhanced DBS Certificate dated 27th August 2019 showing one conviction dated 2nd February 2016 for an offence of battery under S39 Criminal Justice Act 1988. The applicant quite properly declared this conviction upon her application form.

 

Our attention has been drawn to section 2.14 of the suitability policy which states – “Where an applicant has a conviction for an offence of violence, or connected with any offence of violence, a licence will not be granted until at least 10 years have elapsed since the completion of any sentence imposed”.

 

The applicant therefore was asked to give some details about the conviction and she e-mailed the Licensing Department on 13 September. A copy of this is before us.  She explained that at the time of the conviction she and her family were going through a hard time; her brother had been assaulted and sustained injuries leaving him with disabilities and the family were being mocked for this; and furthermore, at the same time her mother was also critically ill.

 

The applicant states that she and her family have moved on and that she has learnt from her mistake. It was explained to her that in view of the fact she had a conviction for an offence of violence her application could not be dealt with administratively and that it would have to be considered by a senior manager. This was done and the matter was considered by the Environmental Health Manager (Commercial) in conjunction with the Chair of this Committee and as a consequence the matter has been referred to ourselves.  The reason for this decision was explained to the applicant and she understood why the referral was being made.  The primary function of this Committee is the protection of the public and an offence of  ...  view the full minutes text for item 3.

4.

Determination of a Private Hire/Hackney Carriage Driver's Application

To determine a private hire/hackney carriage driver's application

Minutes:

The Chair brought Item 5 forward in the proceedings.

 

The Licensing and Compliance Officer gave a summary of the report which noted that the applicant had failed to declare a conviction for using threatening, abusive, insulting words or behaviour with intention to cause fear or provocation of violence. He therefore did not meet the Council’s suitability policy for new drivers. The applicant had apologised and said it was not his intention to deceive.

 

In response to a Member question, the applicant said he had no explanation for why he had not recorded his conviction.

 

At 12.05, the Panel retired to make its decision.

 

At 12.30, the Panel returned. The decision was read to the applicant.

 

 

DECISION NOTICE

 

The application before the Panel today is the applicant’s application for a joint hackney carriage/PHV driver’s licence.  If successful, he has an offer of employment from 24 x 7 Ltd on the school contract side of the business.

 

We have had the opportunity of reading the officer’s report in this case, a copy of which has been served on the applicant, and we have also seen, as has he, the background documents annexed thereto, including an enhanced DBS Certificate dated 30th September 2019 confirming a conviction dated 28th September 2009 for using threatening, abusive or insulting words or behaviour with the intent to cause fear of violence under the Public Order Act 1986.  He also declared a 2018 motoring offence for which his licence was endorsed with three penalty points.

 

Whilst this conviction is spent under the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974 this legislation does not apply to proceedings before this Committee and the applicant does not meet the Council’s suitability policy for new drivers which states at 2.3 “Any dishonesty by an applicant or other person on the applicant’s behalf which is discovered to have occurred in any part of any application process (e.g. failure to declare convictions, false names or addresses, falsified references) will result in a licence being refused, or if already granted, revoked an may result in prosecution”.

 

On 10 October the applicant was interviewed by officers and was asked why he had failed to declare the conviction. He responded by apologising and saying that it was not his intention to deceive. He also explained that he has had previous DBS checks, has a current one for the job that he does now, and another when he applied for the hackney carriage licence he holds with Forest Heath Council. The fact another licencing authority has seen fit to grant him a licence is in no way binding upon us: each and every authority may make its own decision on the basis of its local policies.

He  was then asked to provide some details about his conviction. In a subsequent  e-mail dated 4 November (a copy of which, as are the notes of the earlier discussion, is before us) he explained that he had been taking one of his staff home (from the pub where he was the  ...  view the full minutes text for item 4.

5.

Determination of a Private Hire/Hackney Carriage Driver's Application

To determine a private hire/hackney carriage driver's application.

Minutes:

The Licensing and Compliance Officer gave a summary of the report. The applicant had declared an offence of common assault in 2013 on his application form.

 

The applicant explained that he had attended a friend’s work Christmas party and at the end of the night got a taxi home with his friend and three other men who had also been at the party, but who he did not know. During the journey one of the three men started to taunt him and this led on to a physical attack. Having first tried to cover up his head the applicant eventually fought back to try and defend himself. The case went to Colchester magistrates Court where the applicant was found guilty of common assault due to “acting in self- defence but using excessive force”.

 

The applicant said it was a regrettable incident. He considered himself a family man and would like this additional opportunity to provide for his family. The taxi driver had testified to say that he was defending himself.

 

In response to a Member question, the applicant said his friend did not testify as he had a conflict of interest because he knew the attacker in the incident.

 

At 12.45, the Panel retired to make its decision.

 

At 12.55, the Panel returned. The decision was read to the applicant.

 

 

DECISION NOTICE

 

The application before the Panel today is the applicant’s application for a joint hackney carriage/PHV driver’s licence.  If successful, he has an offer of employment from London Stansted Chauffeurs Ltd.

 

We have had the opportunity of reading the officer’s report in this case, a copy of which has been served on the applicant, and we have also seen, as has he, the background documents annexed thereto, including an enhanced DBS Certificate dated 7th October 2019 confirming a conviction for an offence of violence, declared by the applicant as being one of common assault. In fact the conviction was for an offence of battery under the Criminal Justice Act 1988 dated 9th May 2013 in respect of an offence taking place the preceding Christmas and for which the applicant was fined £625.

 

Whilst this conviction is spent under the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974 this legislation does not apply to proceedings before this Committee and the applicant does not meet the Council’s suitability policy for new drivers which states at point 2.14 – “Where an applicant has a conviction for an offence of violence, or connected with any offence of violence, a licence will not be granted until at least 10 years have elapsed since the completion of any sentence imposed”.

 

The applicant was to provide further information about the conviction and he responded by e-mail on 12 August. A copy is before us. The applicant explained that he had attended a friend’s work Christmas party and at the end of the night got a taxi home with his friend and three other men who had also been at the party, but who he did not know.  ...  view the full minutes text for item 5.

6.

Determination of a Private Hire/Hackney Carriage Driver's Application

To determine a private hire/hackney carriage driver's application.

Minutes:

The Enforcement Officer gave a summary of the report. The applicant had failed to disclose a conviction for assault on his application form, and as such did not meet the criteria of the Council’s policy on suitability of new drivers. The applicant hadthought that the conviction for theft was a suspended sentence and did not realise it was a conviction. The applicant had explained that he had an abcess on his brain approximately 2 years ago which has led to memory losses. He had also thought that he would only need to disclose convictions over 5 years ago.

 

In response to a Member question, the applicant said he thought the conviction was a warning that he would be prosecuted if a similar offence occurred. He had pleaded not guilty and the owners of the stolen camera were surprised the case had made it as far as court.

 

At 13.15, the Panel retired to make its decision.

 

At 13.35, the Panel returned. The decision was read to the applicant.                            

 

 

DECISION NOTICE

 

The application before the Panel today is the applicant’s application for a joint hackney carriage/PHV driver’s licence.  If successful, he has an offer of employment from 24 x 7 Ltd on the school contract side of the business.

 

We have had the opportunity of reading the officer’s report in this case, a copy of which has been served on the applicant, and we have also seen, as has he, the background documents annexed thereto, including an enhanced DBS Certificate dated 21st August 2019 showing a conviction for an offence of dishonesty, namely an offence of theft from a dwelling on 4th March 2013, for which the applicant was convicted on 25th November of that year. He received a 12 month conditional discharge, and was ordered to pay compensation of £25, costs of £350 and a victim surcharge.

 

However, question 12 of the application form asks ‘have you ever been convicted of any offence (including motoring offences) including spent and unspent convictions in any Court or received a police caution?’   The answer given was ‘no’.

 

In the light of the discrepancy between this and the information on his DBS records, the applicant was interviewed under caution (IUC) on 18th September 2019 by two Council Officers.   The following things were noted from the IUC:

The answers on the application form were partially typed in and the applicant said this was done by 24x7 Limited. The applicant explained that he did not realise the nature of his conviction, believing it was a type of warning, and thought that only an immediate custodial sentence was a conviction.   He then explained that he had an abcess on his brain approximately 2 years ago which has led to memory losses: he also did not realise that he also needed to disclose convictions over 5 years ago.

In relation to the offence he said that he had been renting a single room in a house.   When the owners of the house went on holiday  ...  view the full minutes text for item 6.