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Ipswich man battles district council for taxi licence over 'spent' conviction

PUBLISHED: 17:15 08 March 2019 | UPDATED: 17:15 08 March 2019

Darren Summers is battling Babergh District Council to get a taxi driver's licence  Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

Darren Summers is battling Babergh District Council to get a taxi driver's licence Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

Archant

Darren Summers, of Coral Drive, said he has spent around £2,000 passing all of the relevant driving and health tests for a licence.

Darren Summers is taking Babergh District Council to court after they turned him down for a taxi licence  Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWNDarren Summers is taking Babergh District Council to court after they turned him down for a taxi licence Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

However, he says he has had his application turned down by Babergh District Council due to an old conviction for verbal abuse and threats to intimidate he received for an altercation with a bailiff at his home in 2015.

Mr Summers said he regrets his actions but feels a mistake he made years ago should not stop him from rebuilding his life and moving on.

He has taken the council to court over the issue.

He said: “Because of that charge they say they can’t issue me with a taxi licence because of public safety. They said they have the public’s safety in mind.

Darren Summers is struggling to get a taxi driver's licence due to past convictions  Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWNDarren Summers is struggling to get a taxi driver's licence due to past convictions Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

“How am I a danger to the public? How do people who offend get back into work and society?

“I got into trouble and have paid my fine – I have already been punished.”

Under the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act, a conviction with a penalty fine is deemed as ‘spent’ after 12 months and does not need to be disclosed to most employers, however there are exceptions for example working with children or vulnerable people.

Mr Summers said he doesn’t like being out of work, even though he is legally allowed to claim substantial disability allowance.

He said: “The reason I am doing this is because I have had five operations on my leg and have a badly injured back.

“I am officially classed as disabled, I have a badge and everything.

“But I want to get back to work

“I have gone for a sensible job that I can do to pay my way.

“Why did the council make me take the test six times and then say they were not going to give it to me?

“I do a lot for charity and help people out but am getting punished again for things that happened years ago.

“I’m sure there will be other people like me that have been in trouble, who have turned their lives around and just want a chance.”

A Babergh District Council spokesman said: “We are unable to comment on this case as it is still current.”

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