Hornblow v New Zealand Transport Authority [2018] NZDC 10875

Published 25 March 2019

Appeal against licence disqualification and revocation — Land Transport Act 1998, ss 30C, 30F, 87A, 106 — District Court Rules 2014 — fit and proper person — excessive disqualification. The appellant, Mr Hornblow, appealed the New Zealand Transport Authority's decision to disqualify him and revoke his heavy vehicle licences on the basis that he was not a fit and proper person to hold the licences. Alternatively, if the NZTA's decision was correct, Mr Hornblow sought a ruling that the disqualification period imposed was excessive. The appellant had held a transport (goods) service licence since 1983 and acquired classes of licence 2, 3, 4 and 5 to enable him to drive heavy vehicles. During that period the appellant had amassed 224 traffic offences of varying kinds, accrued and paid approximately $125,550 in fines, and been suspended from driving due to accrual of demerit points on three occasions. After getting reissued his licence after a year's suspension in April 2015, the appellant would go on to commit 18 further offences, leading to the disqualification of his licences for three years. This ruling gave rise to the present appeal. The appeal was brought as a general appeal under s 106 of the Land Transport Act and was a rehearing, in accordance to Part 18 of the District Court Rules 2014. The Judge found that the respondent was not a fit and proper person, because of the number, type and regularity of offences he committed, and the public safety risk that created. On the question of whether the disqualification was excessive, the Judge found the three year period was excessive due to the fact that the respondent's livelihood relied on his ability to operate heavy transport, and that while he had committed numerous offences, they were not the most serious offences. Additionally, the respondent had never had an accident, or been prosecuted for reckless or dangerous driving. The Judge dismissed the respondent's appeal against the revocation of his class 2, 3, 4 and 5 licences and his goods services licence. However, the period of disqualification was reduced to two years. Judgment Date: 30 May 2018.