Taxi licence applicant fined after failing to disclose previous driving convictions
A man from Oxford has been ordered to pay more than £1,800 after being found guilty of failing to disclose a series of previous driving convictions when applying for a taxi driver’s licence.
Samir Gaid, 47, from Headley Way, Oxford, appeared at Oxford Magistrates’ Court on Monday 1 February when he was found guilty of breaching section 57(3) of the Local Government (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1976 for knowingly or recklessly making a false statement or omitting any material particular in giving information when making his application for a hackney carriage and private hire driver’s licence.
Magistrates heard how Mr Gaid had attempted to apply for a driver’s licence from Vale of White Horse District Council in January 2020. When he submitted his application form, Mr Gaid should have disclosed details of any previous convictions, including those which would normally be considered spent. This is a requirement for all those who wish to drive licensed vehicles to ensure they are fit and proper to hold a licence and is highlighted clearly during the application process.
However, when licensing officers carried out background checks they discovered that Gaid had failed to disclose that his driver’s licence had already been revoked by Oxford City Council in November 2015. He had also failed to inform the Vale that he had received penalty points on his DVLA licence in 2010 and 2015, prior to those currently on his DVLA record, and that he had a previous conviction for plying for hire and driving without insurance.
Licensing authorities have a statutory duty to ensure that they only license drivers that are ‘fit and proper’ to be entrusted with safely transporting members of the public. As soon as officers became aware of Mr Gaid’s attempted deception, and the potential risk to public safety, they immediately put his application on hold and passed the case over to the council’s Legal team for prosecution.
In court, District Judge Rana was satisfied after hearing all the evidence that Mr Gaid was guilty of this offence. She stated that the obligations for a professional driver to the public and the council were serious and that he was responsible for providing the information and had a duty to disclose these very relevant previous convictions.
Mr Gaid was therefore fined £300 and ordered to pay £1,500 towards the prosecution costs and a £32 victim surcharge.
Cllr Helen Pighills, Cabinet Member Healthy Communities at Vale of White Horse District Council, said: “Anyone who applies for a taxi driver’s licence must disclose all existing and previous driving convictions. If someone fails to do this, they are potentially putting public safety at risk. The wellbeing of passengers is the number one priority when it comes to taxi licensing and so we will not hesitate to prosecute such individuals.
Further information about taxi licensing and safeguarding
When investigating the case, officers found that Mr Gaid had previously been licensed elsewhere by another authority who had been unaware of his conviction record.
Vale of White Horse District Council has previously called on the government to make the national taxi licensing system more robust in order to ensure that vital information, such as previous convictions, is easily accessible to all local authorities to help stop drivers who could put the public at risk.
In July the Government published the Statutory Taxi and Private Hire Vehicle Standards to licensing authorities, aimed at safeguarding children and vulnerable adults. The Statutory Standards set out a range of robust measures to protect taxi and PHV passengers including the use of the National Register of Taxi and Private Hire Licence Revocations and Refusals (NR3) to facilitate information sharing between authorities.
In December 2020, Baroness Vere of Norbiton, Minister for Roads, Buses and Places also wrote to councils across the country highlighting the need for authorities to share licensing information.