Leven man refused fresh licence

A bid for a new restricted licence for a nine- to 16-seater minibus by Leven-based James Kilpatrick has been refused by Deputy Traffic Commissioner (DTC) Jim Astle because he was not satisfied about finance, repute and that the operation of the minibus would not be Mr Kilpatrick’s main occupation.

Mr Kilpatrick, trading as J Kilpatrick Coach Hire, of Wellesley Road, Methil, Leven, appeared before the DTC at an Edinburgh Public Inquiry.

A two-vehicle national licence held by Mr Kilpatrick was revoked by Traffic Commissioner (TC) Joan Aitken in 2008 on grounds of finance and repute and he was disqualified from holding a PSV O-Licence for five years; a decision that was upheld on appeal.

In December 2011 the TC revoked the licence held by Jacqueline Mason and James Thomson, trading as Access Coach Hire, and disqualified them for five years, after being satisfied that, despite being disqualified at that time, Mr Kilpatrick was the controlling force behind the operation. The TC determined that he was not fit to hold a PCV driver licence entitlement because of tachograph offences, and she suspended his vocational licence for four months (routeone, Court Report, 12 January 2012).

Before the DTC, Mr Kilpatrick said that his main business would be organising and arranging coach tours, business trips, corporate events, team building events and special interest tours both within the UK, Ireland and Western Europe.

The tour company, of which he was the sole proprietor, was Phoenix Travel.

In the main he would be hiring in vehicles from established operators.

He was planning on using a 16-seater mini coach as a feeder service; for smaller groups for short-term tours specifically within Scotland; and for airport transfers to and from hotels. If the business of J Kilpatrick Coach Hire turned out to be his main business he would apply for a standard international licence.

He would have no difficulty in satisfying the financial standing requirement because he could make sales of 3,100 within three to four weeks on eBay, and in any event he had at his disposal 52,000 worth of bankrupt stock.

He was aware of the past findings against him by the TC but that was in the past and there was no evidence of any conduct which might substantiate ill repute against him for many years.

He had experienced a second bankruptcy during the last four years which had resulted in the loss of his house earlier in 2014. The eBay trading had kept him afloat but he did not wish it to be his main source of income.

Refusing the application, the DTC said that Mr Kilpatrick had a long and unsatisfactory history within the O-Licensing regime during which there had been many findings adverse to his good repute.

The length and seriousness of the catalogue of matters of ill repute required to be balanced by a substantial subsequent history of good repute before he could find that his repute had been restored.

Since the expiry of the disqualification any experience he had had of relevance to his repute had been minimal.

He had seen no evidence that Mr Kilpatrick had operated Phoenix Travel in any way that would put him in breach of the O-Licensing regime, but such lawful operation as he might having engaged in had been of short duration and insubstantial content.

Mr Kilpatrick had not persuaded him that he would be using his vehicle as a person whose main occupation was not the operation of PCVs adapted to carry more than eight passengers.

Phoenix Travel was presently little more than an incipient business idea. There had been little in the way of income-generating activity by that business.

Neither was the financial information persuasive evidence of Mr Kilpatrick’s ability to fulfil the financial standing requirement of having readily available approximately 3,100.

The ability to generate income from eBay trading was a different thing from the ability to generate available cash, as indeed was the availability of 52,000 worth of unliquidated stock, the saleable quality of which was not the subject of any evidence.

Mr Kilpatrick was a man who had been bankrupt twice and had not recovered financially from his second bankruptcy.

He had no assets upon which to leverage money that might be available for the maintenance of the vehicle he proposed to use.