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Banned speeding driver freed from jail term

By David Cosgrove | Cradley | Crime | Published:

A shopkeeper who was caught speeding in his Mercedes despite being banned from the road has been freed by top judges.

Ahjaz Ali was locked up for seven months at Wolverhampton Crown Court last month (sept).

The 60-year-old admitted fraud and doing acts tending and intending to pervert the course of justice, Mr Justice Green told London's Appeal Court.

Ali, who first passed his driving test at the age of 53, had his licence revoked in September 2010 after he admitted driving without due care and attention.

But on May 14, 2014 he took out an online insurance policy declaring he had a full UK driving licence and no motoring convictions or fixed penalty notices.

Ali, of Highland Road, Cradley Heath was then recorded speeding on two occasions on January 20 this year and sent a notice of intended prosecution.

He did not respond and, when a reminder was sent, he identified someone else as the driver.

The police and DVLA became suspicious and Ali admitted in police interview that he had been driving the Mercedes on both occasions.

He gave the false information because he knew his licence had been revoked and 'panicked'.

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The judge who jailed Ali said he was 'aware that, had he provided accurate information to the police, it would have been discovered he was banned from driving'.

He was, however, of previous good character and had a 'high-standing in the community', the court heard.

Ali's lawyers argued his jail term should have been suspended.

They pointed to him being the owner of a shop which opens from 8am to 8pm, seven days a week.

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Mr Justice Green ruled: "There were strong reasons for considering that immediate custody was not necessary and a suspended sentence would suffice.

"The judge failed sufficiently to address alternatives to immediate custody.

"The appeal is therefore allowed," said the judge, who was sitting with Lord Justice Simon and Judge Mark Brown.

He concluded: "A sentence of six months imprisonment, suspended for 12 months, is imposed."

David Cosgrove

By David Cosgrove
Chief Reporter - @davidcosgrove_

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