Operator fails in attempt to reduce disqualification period

Disqualified

A traffic commissioner has upheld his decision to disqualify a Shrewsbury operator for three years after an appeal tribunal said the length of time should be reviewed.

Roger Llewellyn had his licence revoked and was disqualified after a PI heard that one of his vehicles had an AdBlue emulator fitted, among other offences (CM 14 November 2019).

The operator appealed the decision, which was dismissed by the upper tribunal; however, it stated that the TC’s failure to invite submissions on the effect and length of the disqualification order was an error that needed rectifying.

A new public inquiry was scheduled and TC Nick Denton noted that in the intervening period, Llewellyn had been convicted for four offences of making a false tachograph chart and eight other drivers’ hours offences and was sentenced to six months imprisonment suspended for 12 months.

At the reconvened PI, the operator told the TC he thought he had been “a bit harshly dealt with” and he wanted another chance to prove himself.

In a written decision, Denton said the sheer range and seriousness of non-compliance over an extended period of time meant that a disqualification order was justified.

He accepted that as it was the operator’s first appearance at a PI, the starting point should be in the range of one to three years.

But he said that an outcome in the higher end of the scale was appropriate because Llewellyn had run an operator’s licence with a transport manager that was not involved in any way; he had failed to notice one of his vehicles was fitted with an AdBlue emulator for 17 months; there had been use of an unauthorised operating centre for 10 years and the operator had failed to analyse digital tachograph records for six years.

The TC also took into account Llewellyn’s conviction and said he was not of good repute.

He added that the operator would not have been able to regain a licence since it was revoked in August 2019, so a “de facto disqualification period” had already been served.

He therefore reduced the disqualification to two years, seven months and 26 days, but added: “This means that the disqualification period served in practice would be three years, in line with the STC’s guidelines.”

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