A taxi driver has been convicted and banned after lying about a series of speeding offences.
Muzammil Zawahir was captured exceeding the 30mph speed limit in his silver Toyota Avensis on the A22 London Road, East Grinstead, on 19 May 2015 and 11 June 2015.
He was sent a Notice of Intended Prosecution (NIP) and on both occasions he nominated his housemate as the driver at the time of the offences.
A further offence came to light in Kent, where again he nominated the same person.
The 35-year-old was employed by an East Grinstead-based company licensed by Mid Sussex District Council, which carried out the initial investigation.
The case was passed to Sussex Police’s Crawley Investigations team, and the nominated driver was found to be false on all three occasions.
Zawahir, of The Birches, Crawley, was subsequently charged with perverting the course of justice.
He originally denied the offences and the case was listed for trial at Lewes Crown Court in July 2018, however he later changed his plea to guilty.
At the same court on Thursday 14 February, he was sentenced to six months’ imprisonment – suspended for 24 months – and ordered to carry out 200 hours of unpaid work within 12 months. He was also required to pay £1,200 costs and a £115 victim surcharge.
Mid Sussex District Council confirmed Zawahir’s taxi licence was revoked and he was dismissed as a result of this case.
Operation Pinocchio was launched by Sussex Police in 2016 with the following aims:
- To improve safety on Sussex’s roads by tracing and prosecuting 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.
The offence of perverting the course of justice carries a maximum term of life imprisonment.
Author: Sam Satchell