Appeal fails for fronting operation

O-licence

An appeal from a Hull operator whose licence was revoked for operating as a ‘front’ has been dismissed after the upper tribunal found the traffic commissioner had given a “conspicuously clear and well-reasoned decision.”

Terence Hebden was disqualified indefinitely and found to be no longer of good repute following a PI in August 2019.

The deputy TC for the North East concluded that Hebden’s vehicles were not using authorised operating centres and PG9s and fixed penalties had been issued for dangerous loads, having an AdBlue emulator fitted, not having tachographs fitted and for vehicles not having insurance cover.

The DTC also said there was an overarching issue, in that Hebden’s licence was being used as a front by RM Group Hull and its controlling mind, Michael Holgate.

A written decision on the case said: “Terence Hebden deserves some sympathy, given his poor health – but not much, given his willingness to abdicate his responsibilities as a director and transport manager and to participate in a pretend arrangement whereby his operator’s licence and vehicle authorisation could be absorbed into Michael Holgate’s business.

“He did this for anticipated financial gain although he is unlikely to achieve any gain.”

Hebden appealed this decision, claiming that his “voice has not been heard in the long run up to the public inquiry.”

He also stated that the DVSA was not in full knowledge of all the circumstances leading up the PI.

However, the tribunal panel rejected Hebden’s argument. It said that further evidence provided by the operator was not admitted, but even if it was it would not have helped him.

“In the panel’s view, the deputy traffic commissioner was undoubtedly entitled to take the view which he did of Mr Hebden’s complicity in such a serious arrangement,” wrote judge Ward.

“Neither for the reasons advanced by Mr Hebden in his grounds of appeal nor as a result of the panel’s examination of the case can it be said that the decision of the deputy traffic commissioner was ‘plainly wrong’.

“Indeed, it is a conspicuously clear and well-reasoned decision, one which he was undoubtedly entitled to come to and which the Panel considers to be correct.”

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