Taxi driver retains right to licence after council said ‘No’

WISBECH taxi driver Karen Chapman has won an appeal to keep her hackney carriage driver’s licence.

Ms Chapman – who has been driving taxis for 12 years – was refused a new licence when Fenland District Council discovered she had failed to declare points put on her driving record by a court last year.

When she applied for her licence to be renewed, Ms Chapman had circled the word “No” when asked if she had any criminal convictions – but she did submit her driving licence that clearly showed she had six points.

Appearing before District Judge Ken Sheraton sitting at Wisbech Magistrates’ Court on Tuesday, Ms Chapman, of Outwell admitted she had made a false declaration on the application form.

At the time she made the application, Ms Chapman’s son was in hospital; she was looking after her disabled mother and her other children, and was working.

She said: “I really didn’t do any of this intentionally.” The points were put on her licence for an offence of failing to name a driver who committed a speeding offence.

Solicitor Steve McGregor said: “My client has been careless in the way she dealt with the paperwork. But I submit that carelessness should not disqualify her from holding a hackney carriage drivers licence, because that would be a disproportionate penalty for what she has done. She filled the form in wrongly, rather intending to deceive.”

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Licensing officer Kim Winterton said there had been no problems with Ms Chapman’s driving; but her original licence had required her to disclose any court convictions.

The Judge said: “It was a serious case of carelessness, bearing in mind that she should have told the licensing committee back in March 2009 when she got an endorsement, and again failed to notify the authority when she completed her application.

“I then look to the proportionality of withholding a licence and livelihood from someone with previously no problems. It would not be proportionate to withhold the licence.”

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