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Man refused private hire drivers licence for violent convictions from over 25 years ago

A lorry driver who hoped to obtain a private hire driver’s licence has been knocked back because of violent offences committed over 25 years ago. 

Although the offences took place a quarter of a century ago, Middlesbrough councillors still considered them relevant when making their decision.

PHV hopeful John Metcalfe, of Stockton, attended a hearing at Teesside Magistrates’ Court in an attempt to reverse the council's decision to refuse him a licence - a decision they made in June behind closed doors. 

The council said they could not grant a licence to Mr Metcalfe because he was not judged to be a ‘fit and proper person' to hold one.  During the June meeting, it was revealed Mr Metcalfe had a long list of past convictions including dishonesty, violence and dangerous driving - all of which took place back in the 90's. According to a report on Teesside Live, the timeline stated Mr Metcalfe was convicted of robbery, theft by housebreaking, assault and reckless driving in April 1993.

Mr Metcalfe also served a jail term of over five years. 

He went on to commit further offences and serve another prison sentence.  The council said their policy clearly states that it takes previous convictions of violence seriously when new applicants apply for taxi or private hire licences. 

They also expect all applicants to be trustworthy and any convictions of dishonesty would severely impact any licence application.  Middlesbrough councillors acknowledged Mr Metcalfe had not committed an offence for 20 years, but still came to the agreement not to grant him a licence.  

A report from the council, heard at the meeting said: ‘It noted that the applicant had a difficult childhood, that he had worked as an HGV driver and wanted a licence so his work could be more flexible and he could see his family more. ‘However, despite the incident free period - and because of the varying types of offences of violence, robbery, burglary and dangerous/unsafe driving - and the seriousness of those offences - the committee could not be satisfied that the applicant was safe and suitable to be placed in such a high level of trust of that of a licensed private hire vehicle driver.’ During the meeting, councillors also expressed their concerns over Mr Metcalfe's explanations to his crimes, saying they were misleading in a way to minimise his involvement in the crimes. 

The council added: ‘The committee noted the reasons for the applicant to apply for a licence but considered its responsibility was to the travelling public, other road users and their protection. ‘It considered it was too high a risk to the public to grant such a position of trust to the applicant.’ Mr Metcalfe was given a date in November to challenge the council's decision. 

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