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Russet loses appeal over Standen links

  • 05 September 2012
  • By Roger Brown

Axbridge-based haulier Russet Red, which had an application for an O-licence refused over concerns that it was a front for a disqualified director, has lost its appeal against the decision.

In a written decision, upper tribunal judge Mark Hinchliffe upheld the ruling made by Traffic Commissioner (TC) for the West of England Sarah Bell following a public inquiry in March, when she refused to grant the company a full O-licence, revoked the firm’s interim licence, and disqualified it from holding an O-licence for five years.

Russet Red was granted an interim licence for 12 vehicles and 10 trailers in March 2011 after its director Christopher McCann convinced the TC that Shaun Standen – disqualified from being a company director until 2026 and a bankrupt – was not involved in the business.

Standen, who had previously been involved with a company called Standen and Sons, was described by TC Bell as having had “a long and chequered operator licensing history”.

However, at the March 2012 public inquiry, the TC said she was particularly troubled that a document in support of an alleged system at Russet Red to prevent overloading, was a manifest dated February 2012 in the name of “Standen and Sons”.

Also, in January 2012 Russet Red had been convicted of three counts of using defective tachograph equipment.

Vehicles were being used for more than 28 days without being specified on the licence, and one was discovered parked at a Bibby facility in Cardiff despite Russet Red not holding a Welsh traffic area licence.

There had also been eight mechanical prohibitions issued – two as recently as February 2012 – and two drivers’ hours’ prohibitions issued at the roadside since the interim licence was granted.
Following the PI, the TC said her earlier trust in McCann had been misplaced.

At the appeal, Russet Red argued that it had provided full financial records, and had always complied with the orders of the TC and Vosa.

However, Judge Hinchliffe said that the disqualification had been “more than justified” and described it as a “bad case”.

Judge Hinchliffe also upheld TC Bell’s decision to disqualify McCann from holding an O-licence for five years.


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