Operator loses O-licence after publishing 'malicious' YouTube video of senior traffic commissioner Beverley Bell

Commercial Motor
November 29, 2016

 

Blackpool coach operator Philip Higgs has been disqualified from holding a PSV O-licence for 12 months.

The disqualification came after deputy traffic commissioner John Baker held that he had lost his repute for posting a video on YouTube that allegedly showed senior traffic commissioner (STC) Beverley Bell committing motoring offences.

The deputy TC also revoked the eight vehicle international licence held by Higgs’ company Catch22Bus following a London public inquiry held after the Upper Tribunal had directed that the case be considered by a different commissioner after an appeal against a decision by STC Bell.

Making the revocation and disqualification orders with effect from 18 January, the deputy TC said that what Higgs chose to do amounted to a serious invasion of privacy and inevitably led to the "considerable upset and distress" reported to the police.

He did not accept that Higgs’ intention in posting the video on YouTube and sending copies to a range of people and bodies was merely for her to be held to account for her alleged behaviour.

He believed that Higgs was at best uncaring as to the impact on STC Bell and more likely than not to have wanted to cause her distress and was acting out of malice.

His actions were made worse, and led him to conclude that Higgs knew what he was doing was wrong, by the fact that he posted the video using a false identity and was only discovered after specially trained police officers were able to trace him.

He concluded that there was a serious question mark over whether Higgs could be trusted.

His past behaviour and in particular the conduct towards Bell showed animosity, resentment and a tendency to "take the law into his own hands".

This all drew into question the likelihood of him adhering to operating requirements set by traffic commissioners, particularly if he did not judge the requirements as necessary or reasonable.

 

By Michael Jewell

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Commercial Motor

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