An O-licence application by Aberdeen-based George R Cran Transport has been referred to a different traffic commissioner (TC), after a judge found TC Joan Aitken’s assessment of credibility was not rigorous enough.
Upper Tribunal judge Kenneth Mullan said there was insufficient evidence to suggest that director George Cran was not of good repute, and disagreed with the finding that he had not been open in his responses to questions about his relationship with another former operator.
George R Cran Transport had its application for two vehicles and two trailers refused last year, with the TC doubting that he was “cut out to be a compliant operator”.
In his appeal against Aitken’s decision, Cran said he felt he had been unfairly treated and claimed that the decision was based purely on wrongdoing from a number of years ago, for which he was formerly disqualified. At the time the decision was made, more than four years had passed since the disqualification period ended.
He also disagreed with Aitken’s finding that he did not have sufficient financial resources to operate two trucks. His solicitor asserted that this conclusion linked back to a former application that Cran had made for another company, Oil City Transport, which was refused due to Cran working offshore.
The TC also claimed that he had not been honest about his relationship with Ian Hendry, director at Hendry Aberdeen, which recently had its O-licence application refused. The Upper Tribunal refuted this suggestion, stating that he had been candid when responding to the TC’s concerns.
Judge Kenneth Mullan said in his decision last month: “It is wholly arguable that the appellant is being straightforward in his responses to the TC, expressing his surprise at learning that Mr Hendry had been called to a public inquiry and stressing in strong terms that he has no intention of associating with Mr Hendry.
“It is a leap too far for the TC to conclude, from the appellant’s evidence alone, that the appellant 'most certainly sees and associates with Ian Hendry’.”
The judge found that there was an element of “incongruity” about aspects of the TC’s reasoning, and described her reasoning as to why Cran was not of good repute as “tightly drawn”.