Venue: MS Teams
Opening of Meeting and Confirmation of the Chairman .
Councillor Cotton welcomed everyone to the re-convened meeting, adjourned from 6 October. This being a re-convened it was RE-AFFIRMED that Councillor Cotton would be chairing the day’s proceedings.
Before moving to formal introductions, it was noted the Applicant had not joined the meeting nor accepted the invitation.
Confirmation was sought from the Applicant’s Solicitor whether he would be representing the Applicant in his absence. This was confirmed not to be the case and there was a short adjournment whilst the Applicant’s Solicitor contacted his client.
Having being notified of the Applicant’s intention to join, the Chairman indicated he would allow the Applicant until 10.45am.
The Applicant’s Solicitor took the opportunity to seek confirmation as to whether all the matters referred to within the report were truly relevant to today’s case given a licence had been granted in 2017.
The Council’s Legal Adviser confirmed all matters, including those known to the Council in 2017, were relevant for the purposes of the granting of such a licence.
Register of Attendance
In the continued absence of the Applicant, formal round the table introductions were made.
Members Declarations of Interest.
Members may make any declarations of interest at this point but may also make them at any time during the course of the meeting.
Councillor David Cotton declared a personal interest in the matter as a serving Magistrate. In the event that an appeal was lodged with the Magistrates’ Court, Councillor Cotton would not be permitted, by the Court, to ‘sit’ on such appeal.
The Following Item(s) will be dealt with in accordance with the Principles of Natural Justice adopted by the Council.
A Copy of which is attached to this agenda.
This licensing authority will only allow licensing decisions to be taken by a minimum of three Councillors. In the event of one member being unable to attend, their place will be substituted by another member. In the event of this substitution taking place all parties will be informed of the change of membership at the beginning of the hearing.
The Chairman confirmed the Principles of Natural Justice were to be followed.
The Procedure to be followed was summarised by the Legal Advisor.
Exclusion of Public and Press.
To resolve that under Section 100 (A)(4) of the Local Government Act 1972, the public and press be excluded from the meeting for the following items of business on the grounds that they involve the likely disclosure of exempt information as defined in paragraph 1 of Part 1 of Schedule 12A of the Act.
RESOLVED that under Section 100(A)(4) of the Local Government Act 1972, the public and press be excluded from the meeting for the following item of business on the grounds that it involves the likely disclosure of exempt information as defined in paragraph 1 of Part 1 of Schedule 12A of the Local Government Act 1972 – Information relating to an individual.
The Meeting Administrator advised that the Applicant was now actively trying to join the meeting but appeared to be having technical issues. Having taken several measures, further assistance would be required.
In response to the Chairman’s indication that, whilst all efforts would be made to assist the Applicant, he intended to continue with proceedings at 11.00am, the Applicant’s Solicitor raised an objection, citing a Council system failure as opposed to a failing on his client’s part.
Proceedings were halted whilst technical support was sought and the Applicant was successfully joined to the meeting at 11.09 am. Both the round table introductions and the procedure to be followed were again repeated.
Application for the grant of a combined hackney carriage / private hire drivers licence.
Members considered a report on the suitability of an applicant to be granted a combined hackney carriage/ private hire drivers licence. The Licensing Manager highlighted the relevant sections of the report with regards to the reason for calling the meeting and brought Members’ attention to relevant appendices.
Members confirmed they had no questions in respect of the report.
The Applicant’s Solicitor expressed his concern that evidence relating to some of the latter incidents was merely hearsay and had not been tested. He also suggested that these matters had been addressed by the Council previously and this fact should have been referenced within the report, which he considered to be bias and prejudicial in its presentation.
The Applicant’s Solicitor was invited to address the Committee, presenting his case and calling the Applicant as a witness, and to offer detailed explanation regarding the allegations and circumstances.
In doing so the Sub-Committee heard how in the Applicant’s Solicitor’s view the majority of the information in the evidence pack was prejudicial, citing to Members what he considered to be the only relevant piece of information contained.
The Applicant’s Solicitor was further of the view that the outcome of any investigation as opposed to the allegation itself was the most relevant factor. There was no dispute of the evidence found but the committee heard from the Applicant how such technology worked and as such the Applicant’s Solicitor was of the view that any intent had not been proven, resulting in no further action being taken against his client, and nothing formal being placed on his record.
Regarding some of the older allegations, and allegations which the Council had been aware of when originally granting a licence in 2017, the Applicant’s Solicitor submitted these were now so old that they should now not be of concern to the Committee. Any evidence relating to the more recent allegations, he repeated, was flawed in their presentation and were as a result of untested evidence. The Committee heard from the applicant his version of events which resulted in him leaving employment, and the fact that these allegations had not been put to him by a previous employer at the time. The Applicant also advised how it was he who had raised some of the issues with his employer and outlined to the Committee the circumstances. The Applicant also advised how the Licensing Department had spoken with to him in respect of the contents of the letter from his former employer and had not indicated that this would form a matter of his record of personal conduct.
Returning to the older allegations, the Applicant’s Solicitor again submitted that these were now so old, they should not be considered, furthermore a previous Committee had not considered them enough to not a grant a licence. Again it was suggested that any evidence relating to new allegations was either flawed, bias or hearsay or had resulted in no proceedings against his client and as such his Client’s position, had not fundamentally ... view the full minutes text for item 10.