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Craven District Council wins taxi licensing court cases

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Craven District Council wins taxi licensing court cases 11th November 2018

Craven District Council has successfully defended three appeals against decisions to suspend and revoke taxi drivers’ licences.

Mohammad Nawaz, 52, also known as Mohammed Nawaz and Mohammed Raees, and Mohammed Arfaan Nawaz, 27, both of West View Grove, Keighley, had appealed against a decision of the council’s Licensing and Appeals Sub Committee to immediately revoke their licences as they were found not to be fit and proper persons to hold licences in Craven.

The sub-committee had resolved to revoke their licences at a meeting on June 14, 2018.

Mohammad Nawaz had appeared three times before the sub-committee in the previous 12 months relating to conduct issues including offences under the Equality Act 2010 in relation to the overcharging of wheelchair using passengers and overcharging passengers in general. He had also failed to repair the wheelchair ramp of his taxi when instructed to do so.

Mohammed Arfaan Nawaz was found not to be fit and proper after he was involved in an accident and was abusive towards the complainant and refused to give his insurance details to the complainant. At the sub-committee meeting his behaviour was such towards the complainants, as well as councillors and council officials, that the hearing had to be adjourned for a period of time.

He had also been suspended for a period of 14 days earlier in 2018, after he brought a vehicle for inspection which had a seriously defective tyre and ignored the instructions of an officer not to drive away in the vehicle which had failed its MOT and vehicle test. In the course of preparing for the appeal officers also found that he had also had a taxi badge in Rossendale revoked in 2017 and had failed to declare this to Craven District Council.

Mohammed Ryahaan Nawaz (29), also of West View Grove, Keighley, appealed against a decision of the council’s Licensing and Appeals Sub Committee to suspend his Hackney Carriage Driver Licence with immediate effect for a period of six months, for his part in the failure to repair the wheelchair ramp on his father’s taxi.

Magistrates sitting at Harrogate on Monday November 5, and at Skipton the following day, dismissed all three appeals and awarded full costs to the council of £2,700 in each case.

A further appeal against the immediate revocation of a Hackney Carriage Driver Licence, which was due to be heard on the same day, was withdrawn by the appellant in August 2018.

Councillor Simon Myers, Chairman of the council’s Licensing Committee, said: “I wish to thank all the council officers involved in preparing for the appeals, as well as the three elected members who sat on the Licensing and Appeals Sub Committee and took some very difficult decisions.

“This was the first time that the council’s new Taxi Policy, adopted on June 1, 2018, and decisions taken using the new policy, has been subject to appeal.

“The new policy states that it will take regard of the recently published Institute of Licensing guidance. This document is being pushed by the Institute of Licensing as the way forward in ensuring that licensing authorities across the country are placing public safety at the heart of their decision-making process when deciding whether applicants are ‘fit and proper’ to be licensed.

“In the absence of national standards for the taxi trade, which we in Craven and other licensing authorities up and down the country are lobbying the Government to introduce, we were keen to ensure that Craven was one of the first councils in the country to take regard of the guidance alongside our own policy.

“The Magistrates, in dismissing the appeals, have reaffirmed the fact that Craven District Council, through its more robust policy with the safety of the public at its heart, are ensuring that only those people who are deemed ‘fit and proper’ continue to be licensed in Craven.”

Craven District Council was represented by Leo Charalambides of Kings Chambers.

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