A County Down operator has had its appeal against a finding by the Transport Regulation Unit that it had lost its good repute allowed, after the upper tribunal found it was “unduly harsh”.
Instead, the panel said that the repute of Gerald Hynds was tarnished, but it agreed with the decision to revoke the O-licence.
Hynds operated five HGVs out of Downpatrick, but during the renewal process in 2018 it became apparent that the material he had provided to show financial standing failed to demonstrate the required level of capital and reserves.
The operator had indicated on his renewal form that he had a £25,000 loan/overdraft agreement and a £20,000 average credit balance and a £20,000 average debit balance on the overdraft.
The Department for Infrastructure requested bank or building society statements covering the last three months along with proof of any overdraft facility.
Hynds sent a letter from his bank giving details of the overdraft facility and bank statements in the name of “Gerald and Margaret Hynds t/a Bargainland”.
Less than the required three months’ worth were provided and those that were indicated an average undrawn balance insufficient to support a licence for even one vehicle.
The Department requested more information and warned Hynds a failure to comply might result in regulatory action.
Despite more information being provided it was deemed inadequate and the O-licence was revoked on 12 April 2019.
Hynds appealed, but the tribunal found the Department had been correct not to accept the figures provided:
“To say in the circumstances of the case that Mr Hynds had both a credit and a debit balance of £20,000 was a nonsense,” it said in a written decision.
“The Department was entitled to conclude that the evidence did not show that he had sufficient financial standing.
“That decision, far from being “plainly wrong” was correct. The licence was correctly terminated.”
However, it also found that Hynds had not tried to deceive or conceal:
“A finding of loss of repute in this case would be perceived in the industry as unduly harsh, bearing in mind in particular the lack of dishonesty and any attempt to gain competitive advantage.
“The panel find that his repute is tarnished but could be preserved by making a compliant, properly evidenced, fresh application for a licence.”