Cafe boss jailed for taking driving tests on behalf of others

Posted on February 11, 2010 by admin No Comments

A MOTORIST who dishonestly took driving tests for others in his Kurdish community has been jailed for nine months.
Saman Mohammed’s deception was uncovered when a driving instructor in Harrogate recognised him as using a different name than he had on a previous visit to the test centre.

On the first occasion he gave his correct name when he acted as an interpr
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eter, but on the second, when he took a driving test, he used another name.

Police were alerted and inquiries revealed he had taken tests elsewhere in the North of England, including other occasions at Harrogate and Salford, Carmel Pearson, prosecuting, told Leeds Crown Court.

Zacharias Miah, for Mohammed, said he was asked to do the tests as a favour and was pressured by his community.

The 35-year-old cafe manager, of Clyde Walk, Armley, Leeds, admitted one charge of deception and six of fraud.

Jailing him yesterday, Judge Kerry Macgill said his dishonesty struck “at the very heart of the driving test system” and that putting people on the road who had not been tested caused “untold danger to members of the public”.

The judge said Mohammed had been in the UK some considerable time. “While I take on board the community pressures that have been referred to, ‘No’ is a short word in any language. You are not a child, you a grown man perfectly capable of saying ‘No I will not do that, it’s dishonest.’ You failed that test.”

Miss Pearson said the offences were committed over 12 months between January 2007 and January 2008. It came to light because of the system now operating where a theory test is held before the driving test.

It was noted that Mohammed’s credit card and another card were used to pay for a number of such tests, and when a driving instructor recognised he had seen him before in a different name, alarm bells began ringing.

He was found to have visited Harrogate four times and to have visited Salford three times. On one occasion there he was refused a test because he did not appear anything like the photo on the licence.

Mr Miah said since the offences he had kept out of trouble and found work, and had a great deal to lose if he was jailed.

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