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Cameron John Young v. SoS for Transport and the Deputy Traffic Commissioner for the Scottish Traffic Area, Sheriff Principal Lockhart, Dumfries Sheriff Court, 29th June 2011


Parties and Background

The respondent, Cameron John Young, was a large goods transport company owner. He held a large goods vehicle licence. His licence was revoked by the second appellant, the Deputy Traffic Commissioner (DTC), in October 2010. Mr Young's drivers were supposed to carry out double-manned journeys so that they complied with legal driving hours for large goods vehicle drivers. However, Mr Young had allowed another driver to log driving hours under his name so that it appeared that legal hours had been complied with. The respondent's licence was therefore revoked on the basis that he had ‘aided and abetted' the other driver in falsifying records. He was also disqualified from driving large goods vehicles for three years. Mr Young appealed against this decision in the sheriff court. The sheriff found in his favour and quashed the decision of the DTC. The Secretary of State for Transport and the DTC then appealed to the sheriff principal.
Parties' Submissions
The second appellant conceded that there was no justification for the DTC applying the criminal law concept of aiding and abetting to a civil case. It was submitted that Cameron Young's actions in allowing false records to be created under his name called into question his conduct as a driver. The DTC had therefore reached the correct decision.
The respondent argued that the decision of the DTC should have been confined to Cameron Young's actions as a driver under s.115 of the Road Traffic Act 1988. As he was not driving at the time the records were falsified, he could not be found to be unfit to hold a licence.
The sheriff principal found for the respondent and refused the appeal. The 1988 Act clearly draws a distinction between conduct as a driver of a motor vehicle and conduct in any other respect relevant to holding a driver's licence. As the respondent was not driving at the relevant time, the decision of the DTC was flawed.