Updated: Dec 17, 2021
Dorset Council Licensing officers were pleased as a judge recently upheld their decision to strip a North Dorset man of his taxi driver’s licence.
Mr Richard Lee Dixon held a hackney carriage taxi driver’s licence since late 2018. However, it was revoked back in January 2020 after a DBS check revealed offences that had taken place since it had been granted, which concerned the Council’s licensing team.
The team discovered that Mr Dixon was convicted at Bournemouth Crown Court in July 2019 for two offences of common assault and stalking of his ex-wife. A 5-year restraining order was also imposed on Mr Dixon. He also failed to notify the Council of these convictions within the 28 days required by the Council’s policy.
This behaviour caused the Council to take the view that Mr Dixon was not a fit and proper person to keep a taxi licence. Therefore, his licence was revoked in January 2020 by elected members at a council meeting.
An appeal against this decision was brought by Mr. Dixon and finally heard at Poole Magistrates' Court on Friday 10 December this year.
Following the hearing, the Deputy District Judge ruled in favour of the Council’s decision and dismissed the appeal.
Reviewing the convictions, the judge said that the stalking was not a one-off incident but took place over a protracted length of time. In relation to the assault, the judge noted that while no physical harm was caused, Mr Dixon had used a knife and admitted that he intended to scare the victim.
This was an unacceptable pattern of behaviour involving loss of control and extreme actions and, in addition, Mr Dixon had downplayed the situation in his evidence. Considering the Council’s policy and the overriding aim of taxi licensing is to protect the public, the judge was not satisfied that Mr Dixon was a fit and proper person to continue to hold a taxi licence. Costs of £4,000 were awarded the Council.
Cllr Emma Parker, chair of council’s licensing committee, said: “In this case, Mr Dixon had been convicted of a violent offence, and of stalking. Convictions for criminal offences of that nature prevent him from being a hackney carriage taxi driver, where he would be responsible for the safety of members of the public.
"People stepping into a motor vehicle driven by a stranger must be able to trust that the driver is honest, competent, safe, and trustworthy, and that the car being used is suitable, safe, and well maintained. This case is a great example of how we prioritise the safety of our residents, and I want to thank our Licensing and Legal Teams for their hard work.”