Coakley to fight on for licence reinstatement

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Operator claims being admonished on breach of the peace charges should not affect repute

The Motherwell-based Braidhurst Bus Company, who formerly traded under the name ‘Coakley’, has vowed to fight a court battle in order to reinstate the seventy licences lost after an inquiry.

Traffic Commissioner for Scotland Joan Aitken heard a catalogue of complaints made against the company. It is now in liquidation, but owner and only shareholder Edward Coakley applied to start afresh and operate the fleet as sole trader.

Ms Aitken rejected the application, stating Coakley “lacks repute, financial standing and professional competence.” She also took a “dim view” of Coakley’s 2010 court convictions for threats against First employees in Motherwell. He was also criticised for taking too long to tell the traffic commissioner he was propping up the company with his own money.

She said: “It is clear the liquidator has considerable misgivings regarding the financial arrangements between Mr Coakley and the company.

“This writ raises a question as to repute and, at best, reveals neither Mr Coakley’s business books nor those of the company were such as to quell any doubt as to impropriety.

“I consider Mr Coakley allowed me to be misled as to the financial standing of the company.”

However, Mr Coakley’s lawyer told the public inquiry the court action will be defended and a counter claim will be lodged.

He said the sum in question was money owed by Braidhurst to Mr Coakley who had been paying the wages of drivers and other employees.

Mr Coakley denied ‘ransacking’ company funds, stating he had, in fact, “used his own funds and assets to keep it going”. Mr Coakley had already queried Ms Aitken’s impartiality.

After the latest hearing he said: “The important thing for me is this is now out of Ms Aitken’s hands as I am appealing against her decision to the Transport Tribunal.

“If need be, I’ll go to the Court of Session where I’ve had a TC’s decision overturned before. I’m confident I can still get a result.

“Over professional competence, I have the qualifications. As for financial standing, according to the European directive I have shown more than enough evidence. I don’t think being admonished on breach of the peace charges should be a factor in repute.”