‘Honesty and integrity’ of applicant with sex conviction concerns TLT
by John Q. Duffy
The Toronto Licensing Tribunal denied three applications for City business licenses at its hearing day of February 15, 2018.
The panel of Moira Calderwood, Aly Alibhai and Keith Cooper denied a new license and a renewal for two tow truck drivers’ licenses plus an application for a Vehicle-for-Hire license. In addition, it put off to a later date a hearing into another new application for a tow truck driver license.
Muhummad Asif, applying for a Vehicle-For-Hire Driver’s License had his license denied despite having previously been licensed as a taxicab driver by Toronto between 2003 and 2007.
He has a 2007 sexual assault conviction on his record, for inappropriately touching a mentally handicapped adult Wheel-Trans passenger using his taxi. He was sentenced to 90 days in jail and 18 months probation, but later in the hearing he stated he served his time on weekends.
Since then his record is clean, he pointed out. He is currently supporting his family by working two jobs.
The City noted he pled Guilty to the charge in court, but at this hearing he denied actually committing a sexual assault.
“The safety of the public is paramount,” argued City Attorney Penelope Ma, saying no conditions on the license would be adequate to provide this public safety.
Azif said in his submissions, “I think 10 years is enough for me to be punished.”
Caulderwood, when announcing the license denial, said the panel had to be convinced he would operate with “integrity and honesty.”
But he could reapply “at any time.”
Nirosh Jeyananthan was denied a Tow Truck Driver’s License after the panel heard evidence from both the City and the applicant.
City staff pointed out a report indicating the applicant had 14 incidents of improper driving on his driver abstract including driving without insurance, and currently has eight demerit points on his record.
He has five speeding convictions (one for doing 149kph in a 100kph zone and another charge pending. He has other convictions, all while driving a tow truck. In addition, he has had his provincial drivers license suspended for 30 days.
He is 19 years old and has been driving since he was 16.
Jeyananthan said he drives tow truck outside of Toronto, that he uses this as a part-time job while continuing to go to school, but wants to be able to work in Toronto where business is better.
One of the convictions, he said, was for towing a car to a repair shop, the problem with insurance was that he did not have insurance papers in the tow truck he was using that was owned by his employer, and other Highway Traffic Act convictions were “common errors.”
In submissions, the City argued this driving record is too serious and too recent to be ignored and the license should not be issued.
Jeyananthan argued “I do believe I can be safe driving a tow truck. That’s what I firmly believe.”
The panel disagreed with him.
Also denied was a Tow Truck Driver License renewal for Muhummad Saad Madani.
He has a long string of both convictions and withdrawn charges on his criminal record plus several Highway Traffic Act convictions for speeding.
Perhaps the most serious convictions were for a 2017 charge of Assault with a Weapon and another earlier charge of Theft. He has other, older charges for possession (Oxycontin) found by police in his tow truck.
He told the panel he “was not convicted of all (charges). A lot of these charges were dropped, withdrawn.”
He currently has no charges pending.
“Based on these other charges I think I should be granted a license.”
Asked about specific charges and convictions on his criminal record, he repeatedly said, “I can’t recall,” or “I don’t recollect that.”
He refused to answer questions about an assault with a weapon conviction saying “I’d rather not talk about that.”
He previously had been granted a probationary tow truck driver license by the City, but also apparently failed to report all new charges and convictions as required.
Given his record, the City argued his license should be revoked.
He asked that he be given another chance.
After deliberation, the panel decided he could not be relied upon to operate with “honesty and integrity” and would “endanger the health and safety of other members of the public.”
Finally, a hearing into the application of Deshan Yogarajah for a Tow Truck Driver’s License was deferred to a date to be determined pending the outcome of three criminal charges before the courts despite opposition from the City attorney and Municipal Licensing and Standards staff.
MLS argued the matter was properly before the panel, however the panel decided that it was not in the public interest to proceed based solely on unproven charges.
Speaking for the panel, Moira Caulderwood said “these are only charges. We want to make sure we have all the information, to make sure we make a full and fair decision.”
It will be up to the applicant to inform MLS about the disposition of the charges.
Nateisha Renea Kerr, applying for an Entertainer’s License was granted the license on four years probation after the Toronto Licensing Tribunal accepted a joint proposal at a hearing held February 22, 2018.
The two-person panel of Keith Cooper and Melana Laverty hearing the case learned the applicant and the City had come to a proposed resolution of the matter.
The license was granted on four years probation with annul updates of her criminal record to be supplied to Municipal Licensing and Standards.
She also must report any new charges and convictions under the Criminal Code and the Controlled Substances Act.
Kerr’s paralegal, Douglas Allen, said she was trying to turn her life around, after, as a young woman, she started to hang around with the wrong people, making bad decisions, and a recent check of her criminal record seems to confirm this assertion.
Allen told the panel Kerr had suggested the long probation as she is confident she can abide by all the conditions.
City attorney David Gourlay said the City is “hopeful” that it will learn about and deal with problems if they do arise, “in short order” and that the conditions will help to keep new problems from arising.
He also pointed out that for a younger person four years is a significant amount of time.
Allen said the resolution would add “structure” to Kerr’s life, something that has been lacking to date.
The panel granted the license.
The only other hearing scheduled this day was into the license of Muslimuddin Chowdhury, who holds a Taxicab Driver’s License.
This hearing was adjourned until March 29th, as Chowdhury’s lawyer was not available this date.