Sole trader loses appeal against O-licence revocation

Ashleigh Wight
December 24, 2016


A sole trader has lost an appeal against the revocation of his O-licence after he failed to engage with the Office of the Traffic Commissioner (OTC) and attend a public inquiry (PI).

Congleton, Cheshire-based skip operator Darren Brooks, who trades as GTO Machines and Metals, also failed to attend the appeal hearing, which he requested after losing his O-licence earlier this year.

A maintenance investigation in 2014, triggered by Brooks’s failure to attend a new operator seminar following the grant of his O-licence in January 2014, discovered that he had little understanding of restricted O-licence holders’ responsibilities and he was relying on others to manage vehicle maintenance. He was also found to be operating 
a vehicle that had not had an MoT.

Despite subsequently attending the seminar and putting the vehicle through its annual test, further shortcomings were found in 2015; Brooks’s driving licence had expired and he did not have a Driver CPC.

A second vehicle inspection later that year found that he had still not completed his Driver CPC. He claimed that he did not think he needed one as he was transporting his own goods, which he later intended to sell. The truck’s MoT had expired once again.

Brooks failed to attend numerous meetings with the OTC and was also absent from the PI.

On appeal, Brooks argued that he needed to continue his business because his family depended on his income. He admitted that he had been guilty of oversights because of his inability to read and write and for the need to care for his mother.

In his absence, the Upper Tribunal found that the deputy traffic commissioner (TC) for the North West, Miles Dorrington, could not be faulted for finding that Brooks’ operation had “fundamental failures”.

It noted that Brooks had not disputed the deputy TC’s findings in his appeal and said there was nothing to suggest that the matters that prevented his ability to comply with the law would not continue if he were allowed to keep his O-licence.

Upper Tribunal judge Mark Hemingway said in his written decision last month: “Mr Brooks has shown a wilful disregard for the requirement of operator licence compliance.

“In our view, all relevant matters were fully and fairly considered and appropriately decided.”

The judge said that while the Upper Tribunal sympathised that he had to look after his mother, who was unwell, it did not believe that the deputy TC should have taken this into account because it had not been presented as a temporary difficulty by Brooks.

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