‘Self-isolating’ director’s application refused following PI non-attendance

HMRC

A St Albans-based operator that threatened the traffic commissioner’s office with legal action if it heard a case in his absence, has had his application refused following a public inquiry.

West Herts Tipper Services sought an operator license authorising 10 HGVs, but concerns over its financial standing, availability of its proposed operating centre and how it would demonstrate professional competence when its CPC holder had resigned in July, prompted the Eastern traffic area TC Richard Turfitt to call a PI.

Director Alexander De Gabriele wrote to the TC’s office to explain he was self-isolating having developed Covid-19 symptoms and was therefore unable to attend.

The TC suggested a remote hearing, but De Gabriele responded stating he was too ill to participate, and he was then asked to provide medical evidence.

In response, the director wrote: “I’ve been advised to self-isolate!

“I have not yet been tested and will not have time to do so beforehand.

“I will instruct legal council today on this matter. If you insist on dealing with this case in my absence it will be my lawyers that you here [sic] from next.”

In a written response, following a PI in the director’s absence, Turfitt said he remained to be satisfied about repute, financial standing and professional competence: “The application is refused on that basis,” he added.

“The applicant is at liberty to renew its application but will need to address all matters at issue and to do so promptly if that is to progress in future.”

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