Agenda item


Mr Keith David Lewis


The Licensing Team Leader, Louis Krog, introduced the report regarding the review of Mr Keith David Lewis’ Private Hire Driver’s Licence, PHD116.  Mr Lewis’ licence is due for renewal on 8 December 2019, however he had a number of driving convictions which were set out in the background papers.   The Officer informed members that Mr Lewis had been before the committee twice before and had also failed to inform the Licensing team of his convictions on two occasions.  Mr Lewis now had 12 points on his licence for speeding and had been disqualified in September 2015 for totting up, however Mr Lewis was appealing the disqualification with the hearing due to be heard on 13 January 2017.


The Officer advised the committee to consider whether in the light of these convictions, they felt that Mr Lewis remained a fit and proper person to hold a private hire driver’s licence.  If the committee revoked the licence, they could decide to revoke with immediate effect in the interest of public safety.


The Officer informed the committee that Mr Lewis was to have been represented, but that his lawyer had not been able to attend at the last minute and Mr Lewis had requested a deferment.  The Chair took in to account the letter received from Mr Lewis’ barrister but stated that, in the interests of public safety, the review should be heard at this meeting.


In reply to questions from members, the Officer confirmed that Mr Lewis was still insured to drive and that whatever the outcome was of the Court hearing on Mr Lewis’ disqualification, this did not have any impact on the decision made by the committee as to whether Mr Lewis was fit and proper to hold a licence.  The Officer referred members to 4.5 of the report stating that the pending appeal was not relevant to the committee’s determination of the DVLA penalty points.  Mr Lewis was appealing the disqualification, not the penalty points.  The Officer also reminded members of the requirement that taxi drivers have to declare any convictions to the council and that Mr Lewis had failed to do this on two separate occasions.


A member questioned the length of time that had passed between the conviction in September 2015 resulting in 12 points and the disqualification for totting-up in September 2016.  The Officer did not have this information and the question was directed to Mr Lewis, who replied he had been appealing against the speeding offence and this was the length of time taken by the legal process.  Mr Lewis also confirmed that he had taken the DVSA taxi driving test at this own expense as stipulated by the Licensing Committee when Mr Lewis appeared before them in January 2016.


The Chair invited Mr Lewis to speak and Mr Lewis introduced Mr Victor Witham, the owner of Spa Tax, who accompanied him.   Mr Lewis informed the committee that he didn’t report the points to the council as he was appealing them and also waiting for the outcome of the case to be heard the following day.  He felt it was unfair until he knew the outcome.


In reply to a question as to why Mr Lewis hadn’t declared his previous points, Mr Lewis remarked that he didn’t know he had to tell the council every time.  When asked if he knew about the offence in September 2015, when he came before the committee in January 2016, Mr Lewis replied that he didn’t tell the committee as there had been a mix up with the paperwork which he didn’t receive until later in January.   Mr Lewis further added that he thought he was appealing both the points and the disqualification, although he now knew it was only the disqualification.    When asked what speeds he was driving, Mr Lewis replied 33 and 37 in a 30mph zone and that he didn’t know the other two.


The Licensing Officer re-confirmed to the committee that the Crown Court appeal on 13 January was against the sentence of disqualification, not the points, but that the committee should consider the number of points in their decision.


Mr Lewis’ employer, Mr Witham, stated that the offences had been caught by speed cameras and that when working nights with possible drunk people in the car, you were looking at them and not looking out for speed cameras.  He said he had known Mr Lewis for 40 years and that he was not a dangerous driver.


There being no further questions or debate the Chair moved to vote.


Upon a vote on 1.3.1 of the report that Mr Lewis’ licence be continued with no further action, it was 0 for, 9 against.


Upon a vote on 1.3.2 of the report to revoke Mr Lewis’ licence, it was 9 for, 0 against.


Upon a vote on 1.3.3 of the report to revoke with immediate effect, it was unanimous with 9 for, 0 against.


RESOLVED THAT, Mr Keith David Lewis’ private hire driver’s licence be revoked with immediate effect in the interest of public safety.


The Legal Officer advised Mr Lewis that he would receive a decision letter and that he could appeal within 21 days of the date of the letter and that he could not drive as a private hire taxi with immediate effect.


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