Taxi driver with speeding offence and ‘two licences’ fails in renewal attempt

A MAN who failed to disclose he had a conviction for speeding and was later found to possess two driving licences has failed in his bid to have his taxi driver’s licence renewed by Scottish Borders Council.

Brian Forbes, who lives in Edinburgh but was once a partner in a Peeblesshire taxi firm, was deemed by SBC’s Civic Government Licensing Committee – which considered his renewal application at a hearing in Galashiels last Friday – to have tried to deceive the council’s licensing department, the DVLA and the police.

And the committee unanimously endorsed the view of police that Mr Forbes was “no longer a fit and proper person” to hold a taxi driver’s licence in the Borders.

A report by Inspector John Scott revealed that Mr Forbes submitted his application for annual renewal of his licence to SBC’s licensing department on June 20 this year, but had failed to disclose he had been convicted of a speeding offence at the JP Court in Edinburgh on May 31.

Mr Forbes had been caught on camera driving a Mercedes taxi on the A90 in Edinburgh in December last year at 68mph in a 40mph zone.

With his application for renewal, Mr Forbes submitted an unendorsed driving licence, despite police systems indicating it had been endorsed on May 31.

“On June 28, Mr Forbes told police his driving licence had not been endorsed … as he had lodged an appeal which was currently ongoing with the court following their [the court’s] refusal to accept payment of the initial fine of £60 and three penalty points,” said Inspector Scott.

“Mr Forbes was advised to submit another application with the convictions [he was also fined £50 for a road traffic offence in 2003] listed.

“Later that day, Mr Forbes told police that on the advice of his solicitor he had decided to drop his appeal and accept an increased fine of £160 and five penalty points.

“He said he would contact Edinburgh JP Court and make the necessary arrangements, and he would forward his driving licence to SBC once it had been endorsed by the court.

“On June 30, he submitted another application for renewal of his taxi driver’s licence. His convictions were listed and the accompanying driving licence showed the endorsement of five penalty points. On examination by the police, it was noticed he had submitted a different driving licence counterpart to the one he had originally submitted the previous week.

“Between June 31 and July 1, police confirmed no appeal had been lodged with the court.”

Inspector Scott said that when police spoke to Mr Forbes on July 1, he said he had “got in a bit of muddle” and admitted he was in possession of more than one driving licence. He was advised to contact the DVLA immediately.

On July 4, the DVLA confirmed it had revoked Mr Forbes’ driving licence at midnight on July 3 as he had failed to surrender it when requested for endorsement.

It further confirmed the endorsed licence presented to SBC on June 30 was not valid as it had previously been reported as lost/stolen. SBC’s licensing department informed Mr Forbes his driving licence had been revoked and his taxi driver’s licence was suspended pending last Friday’s hearing.

Inspector Scott said the police believed Mr Forbes had attempted to deceive officers of SBC and the police by submitting an unendorsed driving licence in the full knowledge he had an additional driving licence which had been endorsed just 21 days previously and had been “untruthful” in telling police he had lodged an appeal.

“It is also the opinion of police that by driving a taxi at such an excessive speed, Mr Forbes demonstrated a flagrant disregard for the law and other road users.”

Despite Mr Forbes maintaining that he had been “muddled” in relation to the two driving licences, the committee rejected his renewal bid.

A council spokesperson said that Mr Forbes had verbally indicated he intended appealing the decision – he has 28 days from the hearing to do so – at the sheriff court.