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Taxi licence refused due to conviction despite Magistrates suggesting a lighter stance being taken

Updated: Aug 17, 2021

Image credit : Pixabay

A former taxi driver has been refused a hackney carriage licence by Bristol City Council due to a conviction of battery against him, despite a Magistrate suggesting that the council's licensing authority should consider taking a lighter stance on him due to the offence being on the lower end of the scale.

The applicant, only referred to as MH on council documents, held a licence since 2004, with his last licence expiring in 2019.

A renewal application was considered by the council's licensing committee in January 2020 after a conviction of battery against the applicant.

For violent offences such as battery, Bristol City Council has a policy that advises to not licence an offender until between 5 to 10 years has passed.

The Magistrate, who convicted MH, had suggested a period of 2 years be considered on this occasion due to the offence being on the lower end of the scale.

During the hearing, held by the council, the applicant and his representative, the argument was put forward that MH had a previous good record of over 20 years and the conviction was a minor one.

He had expressed remorse for his actions, which they say were very out of character, with this being the only offence on his record, and the promise that he will not offend again.

MH said the offence occurred during a very stressful time and that he has financial and health issues.

After questioning from the committee, it was confirmed that the committee cannot "go behind criminal convictions, they stand and are not a matter for debate".

The committee said the Magistrate’s recommendation of a two-year period without licence is not binding, therefore they are led by the policy standard of 5-8 years for assault.

The committee decided, despite hearing that MH was sorry, they were not satisfied that he provided supporting evidence to discharge his burden of proving that he is a fit and proper person to hold a licence or that he demonstrated exceptional circumstances to justify a departure from the Policy.

The final decision was to not grant a new hackney carriage licence to the applicant.


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