Banned driver wins licence back

A man successfully appealed the length of his driving licence suspension last week, after complaining to the Grand Court that the punishment had forced him into unemployment.

Keith Barnes lost his licence for 12 months and received a $1,840 fine after he was caught in late December 2007 driving an unregistered and un-roadworthy car without insurance.

‘I’m begging for leniency’ the heavy machinery operator told the Grand Court, saying his livelihood depended on having his licence. He has now been unemployed for four months, but would be able to return to work immediately if his license was reinstated, he said.

Under the Traffic Law, people convicted of driving without insurance, vehicle registration or a certificate of roadworthiness can be suspended from driving for 12 months and are also liable to fines.

The fact that someone lost their job because of their licence suspension is not necessarily a special reason for lessening their sentence, Justice Alexander Henderson, who heard the appeal, said, but in this case ‘it’s a pretty steep penalty,’ he said.

He said the Magistrate had not been incorrect in initially imposing a 12 month suspension, but indicated the situation had been changed because Barnes had been without work for four months and had a job waiting for him if he won his licence back.

‘When measured against the wrongdoing I find special reasons exist, which will reduce your period of suspension to seven months and permit you to get your job back,’ the judge said.

Mr. Barnes had told the court he purchased the car on 23, December, 2007, and was stopped by police officers at a West Bay roadblock on 26 December. He said he thought the car was insured, but knew it wasn’t registered.

He had been driving the car back from a mechanic’s garage when police stopped him, he said, and had planned to get the car registered after the Christmas holidays.

Mr. Barnes represented himself during the Grand Court appeal Friday.

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