Scaffolder caught using fake number plates loses appeal
A scaffolder who used false number plates on his truck has lost his appeal against his five-year disqualification.
The Upper Tribunal found that Nick Denton, former traffic commissioner (TC) for London and the South East, was right to revoke the O-licence held by Cheam, Surrey-based Daren Michael Smith, who traded as DMS Scaffolding.
Smith was also disqualified from holding an O-licence until August 2021.
Police evidence given at a public inquiry (PI) last year showed that a truck driven by Smith in December 2015 was stopped as it was displaying different registration plates on the front and rear of the vehicle.
It emerged that the rear plate was false and a police officer discovered another false plate under the passenger seat.
The same vehicle bearing the false plates was involved in a collision with another vehicle in July 2015.
At the PI, Smith claimed he had not been aware of the plates being used, even on the occasion he was stopped by the police. He suggested that two former drivers could have been using the false plates to avoid receiving parking tickets.
Earlier in 2015 the business was given a prohibition for a vehicle that was overloaded by 25%. Smith claimed that this might have been caused by the boards, which formed part of the load, becoming heavier as a result of getting wet in the rain.
The TC found that the business had been running its truck from an unauthorised operating centre.
Documentation provided to the TC could not demonstrate that Smith had sufficient financial standing for his restricted O-licence, and no evidence of vehicle maintenance was produced.
The TC said he found Smith to be “extremely unreliable” and that he had no confidence in his ability to run a safe or legal operation.
In his appeal to the Upper Tribunal, Smith said some of his evidence was not considered by the TC, and he had placed his trust in employees who had let him down.
But judge Mark Hemingway said Smith had shown a “wilful and reckless disregard” to compliance from at least June 2015, when he received the overloading prohibition.
The Upper Tribunal found that Smith’s explanation for the overload was “simply implausible” and said the TC had sound reasons for not accepting some of Smith’s evidence.