Disqualified Catch 22 bus boss has appeal thrown out by court - again

Catch 22 director Philip Higgs
Catch 22 director Philip Higgs
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A Blackpool bus company owner whose licence was seized after he allegedly posted a video online of a traffic boss speeding and running a red light has had his appeal thrown out by the court.

Catch 22 director Philip Higgs had appealed against the decision of an upper tribunal in December 2017, which upheld his disqualification after he posted the video, which allegedly showed former Senior Traffic Commissioner Beverley Bell (inset), on YouTube.

Beverley Bell

Beverley Bell

Mr Higgs made the video after his company was placed under a two-year investigation by the Vehicle and Operator Services Authority in September 2012, when his company was called Oakwood Travel Services Ltd.

In June 2015, Ms Bell concluded that the company had lost its repute and that Mr Higgs and Catch22 should be disqualified from operating for seven years.

Following this, Mr Higgs instructed a private investigator to conduct a covert surveillance of Ms Bell.

The PI followed her for three days and filmed her, among other things, driving her personal car.

A video was then made by a third party using the driving footage, which included captions written by Mr Higgs alleging that Ms Bell had turned left against a red light and had travelled at excessive speed along two separate motorways.

The video was uploaded to YouTube and posted to a number of people, including Police and Crime Commissioner Clive Grunshaw and the Department of Transport.

Mr Higgs was later arrested and issued with a harassment warning, though he was not charged.

In December 2017 the Court of Appeal upheld his licence ban. In a report published this month, following another hearing in November, the court found that this decision was ‘reasonable’, as Mr Higgs’ company had lost its good reputation, and his appeal was dismissed.

Speaking on Mr Higgs’ decision to instruct a PI to follow and film Ms Bell, Lady Justice Sharp said: “He expressed no remorse or apology for causing distress or for any other aspect of his conduct. Whilst the police had decided not to prosecute Mr Higgs for harassment, they had issued the Harassment Notice in relation to his conduct. Mr Higgs had had a range of acceptable options open to him that did not involve this sort of conduct, to raise and deal with his sense of grievance and suspicion. Instead he chose to engage in conduct that was a totally inappropriate response to the injustice he perceived had been done to him.”