Agenda item

Application for a Private Hire Driver's Licence


The Licensing Team Leader outlined the circumstances as set out in the report. The Committee were informed that the applicant had previously held a Private Hire Driver’s Licence from 2009 and a combined driver’s licence from 2011. The licence was revoked on 29th August 2017 following an arrest on suspicion of wounding or inflicting grievous bodily harm with intent during an incident on 27th August 2017. The applicant’s family representative contacted the Licensing Department on 31st August 2017 to advise that the applicant was out of the country and enquired as to the process for appeals and was duly informed. The applicant’s representatives subsequently contacted the Licensing Department a number of times to request the reinstatement of his licence. It was noted that at no time did the applicant or his representative lodge an appeal with the Magistrates’ Court. An application for a Private Hire/Combined Driver’s licence was submitted by the applicant on 15th November 2018. He had also submitted an application for a Hackney Carriage vehicle licence. The Licensing Department were not able to proceed with the Private Hire/Combined Driver’s licence until an enhanced DBS certificate was received; a basic disclosure was received in December 2018 and the applicant was immediately notified that this did not meet the enhanced barring and disclosure criteria. An enhanced disclosure was received by the Licensing Department on 25th July 2019 which showed that the applicant was convicted on 21st March 2019 for the offence that took place on 27th August 2017. Due to the nature of the offence, the applicant was advised that his application would be referred to the Licensing Committee on the grounds that he may not be a “fit and proper person” to be granted a licence with Northampton Borough Council.


The applicant addressed the Committee and explained that other taxi drivers present on the night of 27th August 2017 had provided witness statements to the Police but were not comfortable giving evidence to the Licensing Committee. The incident occurred when a drunken individual walked along the taxi rank on Mercers Row striking the vehicles parked there. He was told by the applicant to move on and the man hit his vehicle’s windows and shouted at him. The applicant then got out of the vehicle.  He stated that he hit the man but used no more than reasonable force.  He advised that since his conviction, he had experienced financial difficulties due, he had to sell his vehicle to pay off debts and had to share his daughter’s vehicle to work part-time as a delivery driver.


In response to questions, the Committee heard that the applicant himself called the Police and an ambulance and stayed with the man until they arrived. They further heard that the applicant did not have the confidence to look for a new line of work due to a lack of other skills or education. The applicant advised that he and the other drivers were racially abused on the night of 27th August 2017. His representative explained that the applicant was a proud man who wanted to work and not live off the state.  With regard to his caution in 2015, the applicant explained that he had intervened in a fight and was subsequently cautioned by the Police but was not aware that the document that he signed had been a caution.


The Solicitor explained to Members their options and the relevant test to be applied; whether the applicant was deemed to be a “fit and proper person” to hold a licence as a Private Hire Driver and the relevant provisions of the Council’s policy on convictions.


Members retired at 20:21 to make a decision.


The meeting reconvened at 20:39.




The Committee had carefully considered the information in the report, the representations made by and on behalf of the applicant at the hearing, the responses to the questions asked of him, the statement and the references received.


The Committee made the following findings:

A.   They noted that there was a single incident which lead to the conviction in March 2019.

B.   Nonetheless it resulted in a very serious consequence.  The loss of an eye is a serious and life changing injury.     

C.   They note that there is some dispute as to the number of times that he hit the victim: The applicant’s version of events being that he hit him 2 or 3 times, the prosecution version being that he hit the victim 6 or 7 times.  The outcome was however, the serious injury and loss of the sight in one eye. 

D.   Clearly the Court saw that the number of punches went beyond what was reasonable force in defence of the applicant, any other person or property.  The applicant had accepted this by entering his guilty plea.

E.   Whilst there was some element of provocation and the victim was extremely drunk, the applicant went too far. 

F.    The earlier incident in 2015 which led to the caution is noted however, there is no material before the Committee relating to that offence and the details are not known.  The committee have therefore disregarded it in making their decision.  

G.   The Committee has considered its role in protecting the public in making its decision.  The Committee were not satisfied that the applicant is a fit and proper person to hold a licence and there was no evidence which indicated that there was good reason to depart from the Council’s Guidelines in Relation to Convictions.  The Committee is concerned as to how the applicant would react to any other incident which may arise whilst he is driving a licensed vehicle and are not satisfied that he does not pose a risk to the public.  


Accordingly, the Committee REFUSES the application for a hackney carriage driver’s licence.