10-year revocation and ban upheld

Paul Jones’ 10-year disqualification and revocation upheld after the TC reached the conclusion she ‘could not trust him’

Paul Jones, Director of Redhill-based Coach Hire Surrey, and the company have lost their appeals to the Upper Tribunal against their 10-year disqualification from holding a PSV O-Licence after the company’s one-vehicle International O-Licence was revoked by Traffic Commissioner (TC) Sarah Bell.

In 2015, when revoking the licences held by Eastleigh-based Black Velvet Travel and Newquay-based Western Greyhound, the TC concluded that Paul Jones had been involved in those two companies, though no longer a Director of Black Velvet, directing that should Mr Jones ever apply to be involved in a PSV O-Licence in any guise the application should be referred to a TC or DTC [routeone/Court Report/2 December 2015].

Last August in revoking the two six-vehicle licences held by Redhill-based Meritrule and Classic Routemasters, the TC concluded their Directors had been a “front” for Paul Jones [routeone/Court Report /12 September 2018].

In revoking the Coach Hire Surrey O-Licence and making the disqualification orders, the TC said that at the end of August 2018, David Harris, who was the Director and TM of the company, resigned.

Paul Jones was appointed as a Director and applications were received to add Paul Jones as the new TM and to increase the authorisation to five vehicles. Mr Jones was convicted of possession of counterfeit currency in 2014 which was not declared on the application forms or on the TM and new Director forms.

The case revolved around the honesty and integrity of Mr Jones. He had not brought any evidence in support of the compliance systems moving forward to ensure road safety, or any evidence to demonstrate that previous arrangements between his brokerage and Meritrule and other PSV operators were legitimate ‘arms length’ arrangements.

It was clear that effectively Mr Jones paid for the company’s O-Licence. There was no goodwill to purchase and the one vehicle purchased was done separately [routeone/Court Report/13 February].

Dismissing the appeals, the Tribunal said that the TC reached the conclusion that she could not trust Mr Jones. She took account of his conduct at the hearing and his failure to address the issues raised in the call-up letter, his lack of credibility as a witness, his failure to declare his convictions, her conclusion that there was an intention to mislead, her finding that the sum paid for CHSL was effectively a payment for the O-Licence and the existence of the convictions, which remained unspent. Mr. Jones certainly made no attempt at that stage to meet what he knew were the TC’s concerns.

In imposing the 10-year ban she took account of the fact that Mr. Jones had worked tirelessly for years to stay in the industry under the radar. She considered that it was necessary to send the message that the TCs took pride in their role of protecting road safety and fair competition and that it was necessary to deter those foolish enough to work in ways that prevented transparent regulation.