Councillor faces financial probe

A disgraced Southamcouncillor is to be subject to an intensive financial investigation under the Proceeds of Crime Act after running a private hire taxi firm without a licence.

David Wise, who has resigned his seat as an Independent member for Southam on Stratford District Council, had been prosecuted by the council as the taxi licensing authority.

Wise, aged 52, of Priors Meadow, Southam, was convicted by Nuneaton magistrates of a total of ten offences relating to his Southam-based private hire business Premier Cars.

The court heard that last year he operated Vauxhall Insignia and Citroen C3 cars as private hire vehicles within Stratford District without a licence.

He was also convicted of operating private hire vehicles when the drivers, Gary Price, Simon Jones and his own mother Joyce Wise, did not have current taxi driver’s licence, and permitting Mrs Wise and Mr Jones to use cars which were uninsured.

In addition Wise was convicted of failing to keep proper records while he was a person to whom a private hire operator’s licence had been granted.

His case was committed to be dealt with at Warwick Crown Court to enable a confiscation order to be made against him under the Proceeds of Crime Act, which cannot be done by magistrates.

And at the crown court the council’s barrister asked for the case to be adjourned for a financial investigation to be carried out prior to confiscation proceedings under the Act.

Because the offences carry only a financial penalty, Wise has to be sentenced in conjunction with the Proceeds of Crime Act proceedings.

Under the Act, Wise’s benefit from his illegal activity and the amount he has available to be confiscated will be assessed before an order is made.

So Judge Alan Parker adjourned the case until some time in August for the financial investigation to take place, and Wise was granted bail.

But the judge warned him that although the offences can be dealt with only by fines, if he failed to turn up for the next hearing he could be facing prison for a Bail Act 

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