Gwynedd taxi licences have been granted to applicants with spent convictions including assault, burglary, theft, handling stolen good, speeding and perverting the course of justice.

The licences were considered “acceptable” due to the historic nature of the crimes – in one case as far back as 36 years.

On Monday, 4 March, Gwynedd Council’s general licensing committee discussed minutes from a meeting on 4 December held behind closed doors.

The minutes described how an applicant – “Mr A” – had requested a hackney carriage/private hire driver’s licence.

The sub-committee noted Mr A’s convictions were “historical”and happened when he was “young and foolish”.

Mr A highlighted his experience working as a taxi driver and said he was offered work locally. Detailed checks were carried out for many years at another place of work ensuring “suitability”.

Responding to why he had not acknowledged convictions on his application ‘Mr A’ apologised saying his last conviction was in 1987 and he thought “they would be spent” adding he was “not aware that historical convictions continued to be considered when applying.”

He was convicted of common assault, burglary and theft from a dwelling and in 1970 and sentenced at juvenile court to three months in a detention centre, was convicted of handling stolen goods and causing Actual Bodily Harm (ABH) in 1982, receiving a suspended sentence of two years, in 1983 he was convicted for Assault causing Actual Bodily Harm (ABH) and fined with costs and in April 1984 he was convicted and sentenced to imprisonment on seven counts for offences including burglary and theft from a dwelling, burglary, handling stolen goods and breaching a probation order.

In 1985, he had received a conviction for perverting the course of justice and received a 15-month jail term 1987 he was convicted for assault causing actual bodily harm (ABH) but received a conditional discharge with costs.

Despite the number of offences the authority said “enough time” had passed since the last conviction to allow the license.

In another case ‘Mr B’ received three penalty points in in May 2021 for breaching the speed limit on a public road and the same again in June that year for the same offence. They did not declared the points but the sub-committee determined the applicant was “a fit and proper person” to hold the licence.

A third, ‘Mr C’ visited the council offices and spoke to staff “inappropriately and aggressively” in 2023. They also telephoned the licensing officer and “the applicant’s attitude was again unacceptable, he swore at the officer over the phone and lost his temper”.

The sub-committee believed the applicant’s behaviour was “totally unacceptable” but in the absence of any convictions and any detailed specific provision in the authority’s policy, the sub-committee considered the application in the context of public safeguarding.

After meeting the applicant the sub-committee was satisfied, and he was considered “a fit and proper person” to hold the licence. The sub-committee reminded the applicant that the licence “could be suspended or revoked a licence if any unacceptable behaviour was brought to its attention”.