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A private hire driver has lost his licence after a female passenger reported him for continuously rubbing his crotch area during a journey.
The applicant, referred to as Licence Holder 05/2019 attended his licensing hearing with Bury Council accompanied by his wife, his uncle and his aunt, who helped with the interpretation.
A report was made available to all those attending the meeting, detailing the reasons why the driver was called before the committee.
The report explained that the man had been a licensed private hire driver from 24 February 2015 until 20 October 2017.
He came before the Licensing and Safety Panel on 19 October 2017 following a complaint about his conduct, resulting in the revocation of his licence.
The complaint came from a female who had booked the driver through a private hire operator, who complained that she had noticed that the driver had only one hand on the steering wheel of the car and the other hand was rubbing and grabbing his crotch area.
This continued on a number of occasions throughout the 15 minute journey.
The complainant felt that the behaviour of the driver was inappropriate and made a complaint to the operator, the Police and then reported the conduct to the Licensing Service at Bury Council.
The report also explained that the driver had appealed the decision to the Magistrates Court, who dismissed his appeal and he then appealed to the Crown Court who also dismissed his appeal. It advised that the complainant had attended court on each occasion and that both courts had ordered the man to pay the council’s legal costs, which are still outstanding.
The man’s aunt spoke initially on his behalf and explained that the he had not intended to cause offence to the passenger and did not mean to make her feel uncomfortable, but that it was a misunderstanding and he was itchy.
A character reference from the operator was provided to the panel along with a mortgage statement highlighting the arrears that had built up as a result of the man not being able to find permanent work since having his licence revoked.
The driver stated how sorry he was about the incident and that he did not mean to cause any offence. He asked the panel to give him another chance.
The panel carefully considered the report and the oral representations by the man and his family members and taking into account the Council’s Conviction Policy and Guidelines and in accordance with the Local Government (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1976, resolved unanimously, to refuse to grant the Applicant a Private Hire Driver’s Licence.
The panel noted the following:
That the allegations were of a very serious nature,
That the behaviour of the Applicant was completely inappropriate,
That the incident was quite recent,
That it was unclear if the Applicant fully understood the effect of his actions or the serious nature of what he had done,
The Applicant had made no effort to pay the Council’s court costs.
The panel agreed that he was not a fit and proper person to hold a licence in Bury.