Suspended sentence for driver who blamed his speeding offence on former tenant

GATSO speed camera. Stock image.

A driver whose car was spotted speeding in Hastings, and who later lied to Sussex Police about who was behind the wheel, has been given a suspended sentence for perverting the course of justice.

Among other falsified paperwork accompanying his claim that he wasn’t driving, Ashfaq Asghar, 28, of Linden Road in Reading, handed over a photocopied passport from a former tenant, and a fake signed receipt for the Ford Mondeo that triggered the speed camera.

But after a Notice of Intended Prosecution was sent to Asghar after the offence on the A259, at Hastings’ Marina in February this year, his claim that another person had driven the car was successfully accepted.

The former tenant was convicted in his absence, fined £660, and had his licence endorsed with six points.

But, according to police, investigations revealed that Asghar had handed over false papers when nominating another person as the speeding driver, and he was invited to a voluntary interview at Shoreham Police Station in May.

Officers said at that interview, he provided a prepared statement, denying the allegations against him.

However, when the case came to Lewes Crown Court, he changed his plea to admit perverting the course of justice.

Subsequently, the former tenant’s conviction was quashed.

Chris Raynor, of Sussex Police’s camera and ticket process team, said:

“It is clear that Asghar produced a false receipt of sale in order to legitimise his account, and using a copy of his former tenant’s passport added credence to his attempts to avoid prosecution.

“He had a total disregard for the effect it had on the person whose details he used.

“We have informed the victim of the outcome of this case, and he replied to thank us for our determination and persistence in bringing Asghar to justice.”

On October 1, Asghar received an eight-month prison sentence suspended for two years.

He must also carry out 300 hours of unpaid work (the equivalent of 37·5 eight-hour working days), and pay £600 in costs plus a £140 victim surcharge.

He was also ordered to pay his victim £200 compensation.

Police said Asghar is among several people convicted in “Operation Pinocchio”, which aims to improve road safety by tracing and prosecuting offenders who give false information to try to avoid prosecution.