Stephen McCaffrey, head of Kings View Chambers and Taxi Defence Barristers, secures Hackney Carriage driver’s licence in “racism complaint” appeal case.

In this case, South Northamptonshire Council revoked our client’s driver’s licence following complaints of racist comments made by him in two old videos that resurfaced in 2017 after being shared widely on social media.

South Northamptonshire Council decided that the video content was sufficient grounds for it conclude that our client was not a fit and proper person and consequently revoked his hackney carriage licence. Our client was arrested on the same day he was invited for interview and as a consequence his licence was revoked without a right to respond.

Thames Valley Police decided not to press charges and our client was informed of this.

Our clients appeal to the Magistrates’ Court against the revocation of his licence was successful. South Northamptonshire Council appealed the decision of Wellingborough Magistrates Court to reinstate our client’s licence and this was the subject of this appeal in the Crown Court.

The Crown Court ruled that South Northamptonshire Council’s decision was wrong on a number of grounds:

• The council ignored an “apology” video issued by our client
• The council added no weight to our client’s good character
• There was insufficient scrutiny of our client’s correspondence with the council on the matter
• No opportunity was given to our client to give any account or explanation for his actions
• The council did not take into account the decision of the police and CPS not to proceed with criminal charges.

In particular, the court said: “Dealing specifically with the last point [above], we do bear in [the council’s] submission that higher standards apply to licensing than to criminal prosecutions, but we do not agree … that the decision not to prosecute is of “little weight”. It is a continuation of [our client’s] good character in the criminal sense and should not have been ignored totally. Taking all these matters into account, we are satisfied so that we are sure that we would have granted the application.” [added]

Stephen McCaffrey

Regulatory defence barrister specialising in taxi and private hire licensing law, appeals and defence.

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