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Driver Loses Licence Appeal

A driver has lost his appeal against a council decision to revoke his dual hackney carriage/private hire licence.

Magistrates at Newcastle threw out his application and upheld a decision taken by the Public Protection Committee at the Borough Council.

They also awarded costs of £1,847.20 against Abid Hussain Mirza, of Mulgrave Street, Hanley.

The court heard that the driver was convicted of a Section 4a disorder offence in January 2013 and was also the subject of a restraining order at the time.

It was his responsibility to declare these convictions on paperwork he signed and submitted to the Council as part of his application for a dual hackney carriage/private hire licence.

But this was not done and when this came to light towards the end of 2016, the Council revoked his licence.

Magistrates said they believed Mirza was familiar with the required forms because of his experience as a driver locally and said not completing forms fully “suggests evasion.”

They said they were “not convinced” by his claim that this was a human error.

During the day-long hearing, the court heard that 2015 was a “licensing watershed” as it followed the publication of a report into child sexual exploitation in Rotherham by taxi drivers and a serious case review into similar happenings in Oxfordshire.

Magistrates were told as a result of these significant events many councils had refocused their efforts on licensing and their duty to protect the public.

The Borough Council’s policy was also revisited in 2015.

Leo Charalambides, for the Council, said: “As far as hackney carriage and private hire licensing is concerned there are very rigorous standards expected in what is effectively a public service. Whatever may have happened previously is no longer relevant because of the licensing watershed in 2015.

“The over-riding interests of public protection is paramount.”