Grimsby Crown Court has upheld the decision of the licensing authority to refuse the renewal of a Scunthorpe taxi driver’s licence after they forged documents and put passengers at risk.
At North Lincolnshire Council’s Licensing (Miscellaneous) Sub-Committee on 26 February 2019, Christine Vipurs’ application to renew her Hackney Carriage/Private Hire drivers licence was refused after she submitted a supporting document that had been illegally doctored.
After considering all of the evidence, the sub-committee considered the applicant to “not be a fit and proper person to hold such a licence”.
The document related to the testing of her lifting equipment which helps disabled passengers get into and out of her taxi. Legislation requires that passenger lifts are thoroughly examined every six months, warning that, ‘failures in passenger lifts can result in significant or fatal injuries’.
Mrs Vipurs’ altered document suggested that the inspection of her equipment was valid for 18 months, rather than the statutory six months, and it bore the same reference number as the supporting documents from her licence renewal the year before.
Cllr Keith Vickers, Chair of the Licensing (Miscellaneous) Sub-Committee, said:
“It was clear that the document Mrs Vipurs submitted for her application had been tampered with.
“It is worrying that someone would feel it necessary to avoid such checks when they are necessary to keep the public safe. Forging the document in this way put vulnerable people in North Lincolnshire at risk, and so her licence renewal was refused.
“It is our duty to ensure that the public are safe when they travel in licensed taxis in North Lincolnshire.”
Mrs Vipurs appealed the council’s decision at Grimsby Magistrates Court, where the court upheld the decision. A further appeal was then lodged by Mrs Vipurs to Grimsby Crown Court, where again the council’s decision was upheld on 12 December 2019.