Disqualified driver drove anyway

One
of the penalties for driving while disqualified is time in custody, Jorje
Polindara found out in Traffic Court on Monday.

Polindara,
30, had spent the weekend at the George Town Police Station after being picked
up in the early hours of Saturday, 29 May, for driving while disqualified and
driving without insurance.

On
Monday, Defence Attorney Lloyd Samson applied for bail.

Chief
Magistrate Margaret Ramsay-Hale said no.

“What
part of ‘do not drive’ do you not understand?” she asked Polindara.

“Here
is a man who will breach a court order not to drive and therefore a man who
will breach bail,” the magistrate said. “I have to tell you the rate at which
orders are ignored is frightening. He crashed into a fence — he could have
crashed in to somebody. I am not admitting him to bail.”

Mr.
Samson indicated that Polindara’s short stay in custody has had a salutary
effect and his family stood ready to assist him.

“They
should have stood ready to take the car away,” the magistrate replied. “They
should have stood ready to keep him away from bars. The fact that they stand
ready comes a little late.”

Mr.
Samson noted that the results of Polindara’s urine analysis were not yet
available. He asked that his client be allowed to return to work.

The
magistrate refused bail and put the matter over until 7 June.

“When
a court sits in traffic jurisdiction and takes a man’s licence it does so for
the safety and protection of the public. You may not disobey an order of the
court. I will not put you back in the community to put other people at risk,”
she told Polindara.

She
expressed concern that people think traffic offences are not serious offences.
But when they involve drinking and driving there comes a point when they are
criminal, she intimated.

Crown
Counsel Kirsty-Ann Gunn, who was in court for another matter, advised that in
the UK driving while drunk can lead to seizure of the driver’s vehicle. She
cited a section of the Criminal Procedure Code that might be interpreted to
allow such seizure.

The
magistrate said she would be considering it because as long as a disqualified
driver has a vehicle he might continue to drive.

The
court file showed that Polindara had been disqualified from driving on 17
April, 2009, and the disqualification was until 16 September, 2011.

A
disqualified driver is not covered by insurance, so the offence of driving
without insurance automatically follows.

The
Traffic Law provides that a person who drives while disqualified is liable to a
fine of $1,000 or imprisonment up to one year and disqualification for a
further two years after his previous period of disqualification.