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LICENCE REVOKED: Ashford taxi driver loses appeal after testing positive for drugs

A taxi driver has lost his appeal against the decision of Ashford Borough Council to revoke his licence.

Mr Shamin Ali contested the decision the council made on 25 April 2022 whereby his joint Private Hire Vehicle and Hackney Carriage Vehicle driving licence was revoked with immediate effect with the court appeal hearing taking place on Friday 31 March 2023 at Margate Magistrates' Court.

Police report led to decision

The decision by the council’s licensing team was made after receiving a report from Kent Police. On 7 April 2022, Mr Shamin Ali was stopped by Kent Police after receiving intelligence that he was dealing Class A drugs from his licensed taxi. Mr Shamin Ali tested positive for drug driving having failed a road side drug wipe and was arrested. He tested positive for cannabis, which was also found in the vehicle.

The council brought Mr Shamin Ali in for questioning in respect of the police incident. Given that he had been driving while under the influence of a controlled substance, lied to the police at the scene and failed to notify the Licensing Authority of his arrest as per the conditions of his licence, along with the possession of controlled substances in his licensed vehicle it was decided he had demonstrated behaviour and actions that posed a risk to public safety and his position of trust.

His licence was revoked with immediate effect.

The council has ‘a duty to ensure, so far as possible, that Mr Shamin Ali is a fit and proper person to hold licences’. The test that officers apply asks (from Department of Transport – statutory guidance) “without any prejudice, and based on the information before you, would you allow a person for whom you care, regardless of their condition, to travel alone in a vehicle driven by this person at any time of day or night?”

Ashford Borough Council determined that they would not and Mr Shamin Ali’s licence was revoked with immediate effect on 25 April 2022.

The court ruling

The court in Margate was completely satisfied on hearing the evidence from the council and that from Mr Shamin Ali, that the council was not wrong in their decision to immediately revoke the licence in the interests of the protection of public safety, and therefore dismissed the appeal before them.

The court ordered Mr Shamin Ali to pay a contribution of £600 toward the costs incurred by the council in defending the action taken.

Sheila Davison, Ashford Borough Council’s Assistant Director Safety and Wellbeing, said: “The role of the council is to ensure public safety and confidence in our taxi drivers. If we believe a licensed driver is failing in this regard we will not hesitate to take action such as issuing a warning, penalty points, suspension or, if necessary, revoke their licence.

“We are pleased that the court saw fit to agree with our decision and that members of the public continue to be assured of their safety when using taxi drivers holding a licence issued by the council.”


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