Woman receives suspended sentence for twice lying about speeding offences

Sussex Police car SUS-151129-085711001
Sussex Police car SUS-151129-085711001

A woman has been convicted for twice lying about her circumstances in a bid to avoid prosectuion.

At about 6.01pm on 13 May 2015, a motorcycle activated a speed camera on the A22 at Nutley. The vehicle was caught travelling at 46mph in a 30mph zone and on the wrong side of the road.

The registered owner Viki Carey, 27, claimed it was not her vehicle.

The security employee, of Sussex View Close, Crowborough also claimed that her registration number had been cloned and used on another vehicle.

However, a Sussex Police investigation proved this was not the case, and that Carey had used different style number plates in order to support her claim.

In a separate incident in London Road, East Grinstead, at about 3.29am on 27 September 2015, a speed camera was activated by a Volkswagen Up, which was recorded travelling at 69mph in a 30mph zone – again on the wrong side of the road.

The registration number was displayed as GU15 FOA, however initial enquiries revealed this belonged to a Dacia Sondera.

Further enquiries revealed the correct number plate for the Volkswagen was GY15 FOA, and registered to Carey.

She was sent a copy of the offence and a letter explaining that her vehicle was displaying the incorrect registration number, however Carey denied any wrongdoing.

After she had responded to police, Carey arranged for the correct registration plate to be fitted to her car – the wrong registration plate had been accidentally placed on the vehicle by the garage that sold it to her, and the garage readily changed the plate when she pointed this out to them.

She pleaded guilty to two counts of perverting the course of justice at Lewes Crown Court on Friday September 2 and was sentenced to eight months in prison, suspended for two years.

She was also ordered to carry out 150 hours of unpaid work and pay £535 in costs.

Paul Gray, of the Sussex Police Central Ticket Summons Unit (CTSU), said: “Although she did not deliberately put the wrong registration plate on her car, Carey took advantage of the situation and lied in order to avoid a speeding fine.

“By lying about a seemingly minor motoring offence you are perverting the course of justice, a far more serious offence which carries a maximum term of life imprisonment. People should be aware that a conviction for this offence comes with a criminal record which could affect future employment opportunities, travel to foreign countries such as America and Australia, and other aspects of your life.

“By comparison, offences detected by safety cameras – excess speed and contravening a red traffic light – carry a maximum of a period of disqualification from driving and a up to a £1,000 fine, and does not come with a criminal record.”

As a result, motorists have been advised that telling lies could land them in jail – with a maximum term of life imprisonment.

The warning has been issued by Sussex Police as part of Operation Pinocchio, set up with the following aims:

- To improve safety on Sussex’s roads by tracing and prosecuting serial offenders who provide false information in an attempt to avoid prosecution;

- And to prevent law-abiding motorists, who have been badly advised, from committing serious criminal offences by attempting to avoid speeding or red light offences.

In another recent convictions, a taxi driver was caught out after lying about speeding and red light offences in the Gatwick area on several occasions between 2009 and 2015.

Erkan Mustafa was responsible for running a private hire and chauffer business called Merc Transfers at the time.

On each occasion, he falsely nominated a man who supposedly lived in Cyprus as the driver, however the man did not appear to exist and Mustafa was subsequently charged with committing a series of acts with intent to pervert the course of justice.

The 62-year-old, of Wolverton Gardens, Horley, Surrey, pleaded guilty at Lewes Crown Court on 8 July and was sentenced to 35 weeks in prison, suspended for two years. He was also ordered to carry out 200 hours of unpaid work and pay £670 costs.

As a result of Mustafa’s conviction, police are urging all taxi drivers in the county to be honest about camera offences to avoid a criminal record.

In the majority of cases, motorists caught by safety cameras are eligible for either a National Speed Awareness Course or national What’s Driving Us course (currently four hours long at a cost of £85 in Sussex). Those not eligible or who choose not to attend a course end up either with a fixed penalty of £100 and three penalty points or going to magistrates’ court.

Mr Gray added: “The level of information involved in incidents of perverting the course of justice can vary greatly from slight to in-depth, but in all cases is premeditated; Sussex Police has no desire to prosecute people who make genuine mistakes.

“However, drivers should be mindful that we will investigate these offences and prosecute where necessary. If you are prepared to lie to us, then prepare to be caught out and face the consequences.”

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