An appeal against a decision to revoke the licence of a West Midlands haulage firm and the disqualification of both its director and transport manager has been allowed.
However, the Upper Tribunal substituted its own decision into the case of Rose Transport, which has exactly the same effect as the original decision by traffic commissioner (TC) Nick Jones, pictured.
At a public inquiry in October 2015 concerning Rose Transport and connected business No 1 Skip Hire, the TC heard that director Gilchris Walters and transport manager and sister Jacqueline Walters intended to surrender Rose Transport’s licence.
The business had traded for seven years without using the right operating centre. Prohibition and fixed penalty notices had been issued over the past five years and rules and regulations had been ignored.
Jacqueline Walters did not attend the public inquiry but her brother Gilchris accepted that as a result of the DVSA’s findings the licence would be revoked and both he and his sister would lose their repute and be disqualified until they both passed new transport manager CPC examinations.
A copy of Jones’s oral decision was sent to the operator and included a line stating that Jacqueline had not attended the PI and had provided “a lame excuse for failing to do so” .
A month later, Jacqueline Walters lodged an appeal, claiming the decision was not proportionate, that the DVSA examiners’ conduct and behaviour should have been questioned, their evidence was flawed and that the TC had made petty remarks concerning her character.
The tribunal noted that the TC believed that the operator no longer satisfied the requirement to have sufficient financial standing, “without specifying the evidential basis for such a conclusion” .
It added: “We have concluded, therefore, that the decision of the TC must be set aside.”
However, the tribunal added that the TC had undertaken a rational assessment of all the evidence before him, all the issues were fully examined and Gilchris Walters was given every opportunity to challenge the evidence.
It accepted that the use of the word lame was unfortunate and that it had some concerns about the TC’s comments that the operator no longer satisfied the requirements for financial standing: “We substitute, however, our own decision which is to the same effect as that of the traffic commissioner.”
- This article was published in the 29 September issue of Commercial Motor. Why not subscribe to get 12 issues for £12?