Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Mayor of Liverpool pledges review of taxi driver bans over concerns they were 'unjust'

Mayor of Liverpool Joe Anderson has pledged a review of cases of taxi drivers being banned from work amid concerns about the way the council’s licensing committee has been revoking licences.

He said he would have all decisions where there is a dispute looked at again in order to make sure the judgements were valid.

The move comes after a long-running campaign by Liverpool Taxi Alliance reached a head with its leader Jimmy Bradley accusing the council of using a “kangaroo court” system that was robbing people of their livelihoods.

But while the Alliance welcomed the Mayor’s promise, senior council sources said they were confident the move would play out in their favour because the decisions would be found to be justified.

The council’s taxi licensing committee meets on a regular basis to decide on various issues, including the fitness of drivers to hold permits to trade. Much of its time is spent dealing with applications from people with criminal convictions, and deciding whether or not they should be allowed on the roads.

It also deals with cherry picking and other enforcement cases, and its sanctions can range from a full licence ban to “a strongly worded letter”.

But Mr Bradley said it was his belief that the way the cases were being handled was unfair, and that often the accused driver is not able to fully challenge “hearsay” evidence put against him.

He also alleged evidence is put to the committee in a “clandestine” pre-hearing, and that the complainant leaves the meeting before the driver is able to come and cross examine the allegations.

Mr Bradley told a council meeting: “The nature of these hearings are akin to the Hearings that take place within the Special Immigration Appeals Commission that are reserved for Control Order applications on terrorists by Central Government.

“We are told by the Trade that it appears to the many drivers affected, that this is a “Kangaroo Court” that is operating above the law.”

Mayor Anderson said: “It is absolutely not in the interest of me or this council to try to stop any person in Liverpool in the taxi trade from trying to do a job and earn a decent living.

“I will get the city solicitor to bring in someone independent to review any cases to see if they have been dealt with in an unjust way.

“All my working life I’ve believed in natural justice and everyone should get the opportunity to defend their case.


     Source: Liverpool Echo


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