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Oxfordshire council's decision not to give taxi licence is upheld Published Date: 31/07/2023

A taxi driver was refused a new licence by the council after it emerged he failed to disclose key information in his application form.

Hekuran Gjeta, 45, who had successfully obtained licenses in 2013, 2016 and 2019, claimed not to have realised he needed to tell the Vale of White Horse District Council when he renewed his licence in 2022 about a 2009 police caution for threatening behaviour or that in 2011 Oxford City Council had refused to grant him a hackney carriage licence.

But a judge and two magistrates rejected his explanations, telling an appeal hearing at Oxford Crown Court that the council licensing officers had been right to refuse his application last summer.

Delivering the panel’s judgment on Friday (July 28), Recorder Alexander McGregor went through the council’s four reasons for refusal set out in a letter to Gjeta in August 2022.

First, the driver had failed to disclose a 2009 police caution for threatening behaviour.

“We find that the appellant had no proper excuse for that non-disclosure,” Recorder McGregor said.

“Moreover, he knew it was relevant to his licence application because that very caution had been put to him in person in 2011 when he applied unsuccessfully to Oxford City Council for a Hackney carriage driver’s licence.

“So, for that reason we find there was no excuse for that non-disclosure and therefore it was deliberate.”

The judge said: “Secondly, the applicant was refused a licence by Oxford City Council in 2011 and that was not declared to the Vale of White Horse District Council when he applied to them.

“In evidence, the applicant sought to excuse this failure by saying that he thought he’d only been refused by Oxford because he’d failed the knowledge test and he wasn’t therefore aware this was something he needed to disclose to the Vale of White Horse.

“However, that cannot be right because the caution and his behaviour towards staff were put to him at his meeting with Oxford City Council in 2011.

“He therefore knew it was those matters which were being taken against him when he was refused the Oxford City Council licence.

“His explanation that he thought he had been refused that licence simply because he failed the knowledge test does not stand up to scrutiny.”

Turning to the failure to declare a conviction for speeding he had received in February 2021, Recorder McGregor told the court: “It’s clear from previous application forms that the appellant knew that speeding offences were disclosable and that he has had more than one of those in the past.”

Gjeta gave ‘no satisfactory – or, indeed, any answer’ for failing to disclose a police ‘community disposal’ received in May 2022.

“Even if there were no other matters to consider we consider that the appellant would not be a fit and proper person to hold a Hackney [licence],” the judge said.

“He has exhibited dishonesty in his dealings with the council in regard to the licence application process.”

The bench ordered Gjeta, of Normandy Crescent, Oxford, pay £1,000 in costs to the council after his appeal was thrown out.