Venue: By Microsoft Teams
Contact: Fiona McCallum Tel. No. 01546 604392
APOLOGIES FOR ABSENCE
Apologies for absence were received from Councillors Daniel Hampsey and Paul Kennedy.
DECLARATIONS OF INTEREST
Councillor Graham Hardie declared a non-financial interest in this application as he knew the Applicant personally. He left the meeting and took no part in the determination of this application.
CIVIC GOVERNMENT (SCOTLAND) ACT 1982: APPLICATION FOR GRANT OF A TAXI DRIVER LICENCE (S OSBORNE, HELENSBURGH)
Report by Head of Legal and Regulatory Support
The Chair welcomed everyone to the meeting. In line with recent legislation for Civic Government Hearings, the parties (and any representatives) were given the options for participating in the meeting today. The options available were by video call, by audio call or by written submission. For this hearing the Applicant opted to proceed by way of audio call and joined the meeting by telephone. Police Scotland also opted to proceed by way of audio call and Sgt David Holmes joined the meeting by telephone.
Reference was made to a preliminary matter that Police Scotland had requested the Committee take account of a matter that was considered “protected” in terms of the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974. It was noted that the Committee may take into consideration evidence relating to protected matters where they are satisfied that justice could not be done except by admitting such evidence.
The Chair outlined the procedure that would be followed in this respect and invited Police Scotland to address the relevancy of the protected matter.
Sgt Holmes advised that it was the Chief Constable’s contention that justice could not be done in this case except by admitting the evidence relating to the ‘protected’ conviction.
The Chair then invited the Applicant to ask Police Scotland questions and to address the relevancy of the protected matter to her application.
Ms Osborne advised that she presumed the conviction was spent and did not realise it was protected. She said that she could only apologise. She said that she had worked as a paediatric occupational therapist in Glasgow. She referred to working as secretary for the Highland Games Committee and that she also worked as a carer during Covid. She said that she was a kind and caring person and would like to continue to work.
The Chair invited Police Scotland to comment on the Applicant’s submission and Sgt Holmes advised that he had no comment to make.
The Chair then invited questions from Members and noted there were none.
The Committee agreed that they would like to consider the protected matter as part of this application and a copy of a letter from Police Scotland was circulated by email to the Committee.
The Chair then outlined the procedure that would be followed and invited the Applicant to speak in support of her application.
Ms Osborne advised that she assumed the conviction was spent and did not realise it was protected. She said that she had turned her life around since then. She referred to her previous line of work as an occupational therapist and said that she would like to get back to work and have some routine in her life which all hinged on the decision that would be taken today.
Sgt Holmes referred to a letter dated 9 May 2022 which advised that the Chief Constable objected to this application on the grounds that the Applicant was not a fit and proper person to be the holder of a licence. He advised that as a result of an incident which took place on 16 December 2008, Ms Osborne was convicted under the Road Traffic Act 1988 section 5(1) (A) at court on 14 October 2009. She received a fine of £500 and was disqualified from driving for 18 months. In terms of the protected matter, which related to the same incident which took place on 16 December 2008, the Applicant received a conviction under the Road Traffic Act 1988 section 170(2) and (4) which related to failing to remain in the locus of the incident and failing to provide details. She received a fine of £50 and her licence was endorsed.
Sgt Holmes also advised that Ms Osborne had been reported to the Procurator Fiscal for a contravention of section 3 Sexual Offences (Scotland) Act 2009 and was also charged with a contravention of section 5 (2) of the Misuse of Drugs Act 1971 as a result of an incident which took place on 20 January 2022. As this matter was sub-judice, he advised that he was constrained with regard to the nature of any further information he could provide at this time.
Councillor Green sought and received confirmation from Sgt Holmes that with reference to the sub judice matters, Section 52 of the Misuse of Drugs Act 1971 related to a person having a controlled substance on their person and Section 3 of the Sexual Offences (Scotland) Act 2009 was related to sexual assault.
Councillor Irvine asked Sgt Holmes if Section 52 of the Misuse of Drugs Act 1971 also concerned intent to supply. Sgt Holmes confirmed this section was just about personal possession.
Councillor Armour referred to the conviction in 2009 being 13 years ago. He asked Sgt Holmes why Police Scotland were opposed to the granting of a licence as a result of an incident that took place 13 years ago. Sgt Holmes said that Police Scotland believed these convictions were relevant. He advised that they related to a drink driving offence and this was an application for a taxi driver. Police Scotland felt it was important from a public safety point of view to bring this to the attention of the Committee so that the Committee could make an informed decision.
Councillor Howard asked the Applicant why she was applying for a taxi driver licence. Ms Osborne explained that she enjoyed driving and had always wanted to be a HGV driver. She said that she enjoyed talking to and meeting people and that the hours would be flexible. She advised that she’s had a clean licence since the incident and said that the flexible hours would really suit her life style. Ms Osborne referred to the most recent incident which was sub judice and advised that she had not been in a good head space then. She advised that she had turned her life around since March this year. She said life was good and a job opportunity like this only ... view the full minutes text for item 3.