Operator loses appeal against disqualification after being convicted of fraud

 

An operator who had convictions for tax evasion and perverting the course of justice has lost his appeal against a decision to disqualify him for five years.

David King, who held a standard international licence and was most recently trading as Military World, argued that deputy traffic commissioner (TC) Sarah Bell failed to give adequate reasons for the length of the disqualification, made in November last year.

Among the reasons for King’s disqualification was that he had in 2016 been convicted of fraudulently evaded VAT, for which he was sentenced to two and a half years imprisonment.

King had previously been director of A+ Logistics which had its o-licence revoked in 2012 on the basis of repute and financial standing.

The grounds for that decision included the TC’s consideration of another conviction King had for perverting the course of justice after he claimed he had not been driving a vehicle that triggered a speed camera.

Although King argued that he had learned his lesson and moved on in life, the Upper Tribunal said it saw no reason to overturn the TC’s decision.

Judith Farbey QC, judge of the Upper Tribunal, said in a written decision after last month’s appeal: “When the TC’s decision is read as a whole, we take the view that her decision to disqualify Mr King for a five-year period is readily understood. The TC is essentially saying that the history of dishonesty means that Mr King could not be trusted with a licence within five years.

“Mr King submits that the period of five years is disproportionate, going beyond regulatory objectives and amounting to a punishment. We have considered his submissions with care but we agree with the TC. The history of convictions combined with Mr King’s lack of candour in the regulatory process mean that the TC was not plainly wrong to disqualify Mr King for five years.

"We have taken into account that Mr King wishes to use an operator’s licence to earn a livelihood and that the disqualification period may have a significant financial effect on him. Nevertheless, any hardship to Mr King must be balanced against the public interest in operators adhering to rules. We find no grounds to interfere with the TC’s decision.”