The Licensing Unit Manager presented a report submitted by the Assistant Director (Legal and Democratic Services), regarding applications for Private Hire drivers’ licences.
1. Applicant 23/2018 attended the meeting and was accompanied by his brother. The Chair welcomed the Applicant and introduced the Licensing and Safety Panel and the Council Solicitor outlined the procedure to be followed.
The Licensing Unit Manager read the report, which was accepted by the Applicant and his brother, which explained that the Applicant had been convicted on 19 September 2013, of driving a motor vehicle with excess alcohol, at Burnley, Pendle and Rossendale Magistrates’ Court and was disqualified from driving for 12 months, reduced if course completed, fined £110 with costs of £85 and a victim surcharge of £20.
The report explained that following information from Crime Stoppers, and intelligence passed to Greater Manchester Police, the Applicant had been arrested by Lancashire Police on Market Street, Bacup, on 4 July 2013, after failing a roadside breath test, which eventually led to a prosecution.
The Applicant and his brother addressed the Panel and explained that at that time, the Applicant was having a very difficult time with his wife, from whom he is now divorced. He had a drink at home and his wife had forced him to drive and he had been caught. The Applicant no longer drinks and this was a one off occasion as he is a devout Muslim.
The Applicant explained that he needs a licence as he is currently struggling with the job he has, as a delivery driver. It is 5 years since the conviction and he asked the Panel for a chance to prove himself.
The Panel carefully considered the report and the oral representations by the Applicant and his brother and after taking into account the Council’s Conviction Policy and Guidelines and in accordance with the Local Government (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1976, the panel agreed unanimously, that the application for a Private Hire driver’s licence by Applicant 23/2018 be granted.
The Panel noted that although the offence for drink driving was serious, the Applicant was remorseful for his actions and the Panel accepted that this was a one off error due to the difficulties in his home life and would not be repeated. The offence occurred over five years previously and the Panel agreed that this Applicant was a fit and proper person.
2. Applicant 24/2018 attended the meeting and was accompanied by Mr Oakes, The Hackney Drivers’ Association Ltd. The Chair welcomed the Applicant and introduced the Licensing and Safety Panel and the Council Solicitor outlined the procedure to be followed.
The Licensing Unit Manager read the report which was accepted by the Applicant and Mr Oakes. The report explained that on Thursday 19 November 2013, an altercation had taken place between the licence holder and a Civil Enforcement Officer undertaking parking attendant duties, during which the licence holder was reported to have used foul and abusive language towards the Officer, struck the Officer to the side of the head causing the Officer’s hat to fall to the ground and then pushed the Officer in the back causing the Officer to stumble forward. Members also heard that during interview the licence holder admitted his involvement, that he had lost his temper and struck the Officer, but that he denied using foul and abusive language or pushing the Officer.
The licence holder had appeared before the Licensing and Safety Panel on 13 February 2014 and his licence was revoked. The Applicant appealed the Panel’s decision but failed to appear at the appeal hearing at Bury and Rochdale Magistrates’ Court on 3 July 2014 and the matter was heard in his absence and the appeal was dismissed. The Court ordered that the Applicant pay the Council’s costs of £2,050.00 and he currently owes £690.00 of that amount.
The Applicant has also applied for private hire licences and appeared before the Panel on 19 January 2017 and 27 July 2017 and was refused on both occasions.
Mr Oakes addressed the Panel and explained that on the day of the incident, the licence holder was suffering with a trapped nerve in his right leg, which was causing him considerable pain. This was not an excuse for his behaviour but a reason why he had reacted as he had. He was waiting for physiotherapy and on strong painkilling medication.
The Applicant also addressed the Panel and apologised for his behaviour. He realised the severity of the situation but explained that it was just spur of the moment and completely out of character for him. He felt embarrassed and ashamed of his conduct on that day. He explained he and his wife now have a baby who has to attend regular appointments at North Manchester Hospital. He is currently working different jobs in a car wash, in a tyre establishment and on the market to try and provide for his family.
The Panel carefully considered the report and the oral representations by the Applicant and his representative and after taking into account the Council’s Conviction Policy and Guidelines and in accordance with the Local Government (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1976, the panel agreed unanimously, that the application for a Private Hire driver’s licence by Applicant 24/2018 be granted.
The Panel noted that the offence was of a serious nature and acknowledged that the Applicant had no excuse for his behaviour but that he was deeply remorseful for his actions, that he was trying hard to provide for his family and incidents of this nature would not be repeated. They also noted that more than 5 years had elapsed since the incident and there were no other matters recorded against the Applicant. The Panel agreed that he was a fit and proper person to hold a licence in Bury.