Previous conduct of appellants a Tribunal issue
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SSOME easement of the effects of a decision by the South Eastern Licensing Authority has been granted by the Transport Tribunal in its judgment in the appeal of Reeves and Nobbs, but the appeal of Reeves and Nobbs (Transport) Ltd. has been dismissed.
Reeves and Nobbs (Transport) Ltd. sought to acquire the 12-vehicle business of Reeves and Nobbs, hauliers mainly concerned with the carriage of scrap metal for the Maidstone Sack and Metal Co. Ltd. There were no objections lodged and the LA concluded that the documentary and oral evidence in support of the applications were satisfactory. However, he decided that the previous conduct of Mr. Reeves and Mr. Nobbs in their capacity of carriers justified the refusal of the licences sought.
The LA took into account convictions against Mr. Reeves and Mr. Nobbs during the past four years for offences in connection with records and hours and others referring to the mechanical condition of vehicles. Both men had been fined £210 with 15 guineas costs for records offences at Tower Bridge Magistrates Court in February, 1966. There were also a number of suspension notices, two of them with immediate effect, in 1964 and 1965.
Mr. Jackson-Lipkin, for the appellants, criticized the LA for acting in the triple capacity of prosecutor, advocate and judge, but the Tribunal found no ground for adversely criticizing the manner in which the LA exercised his statutory powers in this case.
The LA, says the Tribunal, conducted a very thorough and painstaking inquiry which left him in no doubt at all "that in July and August, 1965, these appellants had engaged in a scheme to falsify drivers' records in order to make it appear that two drivers had been employed on work which one driver could not lawfully have done.
The LA considered putting the appellants out of business altogether, but felt this was too severe a course. He refused applications made on May 4 and said that if applications were made for new licences on July 11 he would deal with them on their merits, ignoring the previous conduct he had taken account of at the public inquiry.
In effect this suspended all 12 vehicles of the appellants for a period of two months, and the severity of the decision formed the main grounds of the appeal.
The Tribunal concluded that in the circumstances of the case a suspension equivalent to 24 vehicle-months was not at all excessive, but after hearing Mr. Nobbs give evidence in person as to the financial and other consequences which would follow from the application of the LA's decision, the Tribunal 'concluded that Mr. Nobbs ought to be given the benefit of the doubt.
The penalty would therefore be spread over four months, leaving six vehicles to keep the business alive during that period.
Trent Seeks New Excursions: Following the opening of the latest section of ML the Derby-based Trent Motor Traction Co. Ltd. has applied to the East Midlands Traffic Commissioners for permission to run 21 motorway excursions to places of national and topical interest and to nine south coast resorts.