If you lie about a red light or speeding offence, you could be jailed.
That’s the reality for these two men, who both spent Christmas behind bars after they attempted to blame their crimes on innocent people.
Had they admitted their wrongdoings at the first opportunity, the two individuals could have escaped with three penalty points and a £100 fine for each offence.
However, by providing false information they committed an offence of perverting the course of justice, and were subsequently jailed.
On 29 May 2017, a white Ford Focus activated a speed camera in Ditchling Road, Brighton – it was travelling at 36mph in a 30mph zone.
A Notice of Intended Prosecution (NIP) was sent to the registered keeper in Hove, but no response was received.
Therefore a new NIP was sent to Colin Drewitt-Barlow at an address in Sompting on the basis the vehicle was insured to him.
A reply was received stating Drewitt-Barlow no longer resided there, and further enquiries led to another NIP being sent to his new address in Coleman Avenue, Hove.
The 31-year-old, unemployed, and now of Downsway, Southwick, replied and nominated another person, however this proved to be a false name and address.
In police interview, Drewitt-Barlow denied driving the vehicle when the offence was committed or ever owning it. The case was then submitted to the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS), which authorised a charge of perverting the course of justice.
Drewitt-Barlow pleaded not guilty but later changed his plea to guilty at Lewes Crown Court on 12 December 2018, where he was sentenced to three months’ imprisonment. He was also ordered to pay a £115 victim surcharge.
On 25 June 2017, a black BMW M3 activated two speed cameras in Sussex – it was caught travelling at 38mph in a 30mph zone on the A259 Marine Parade, Brighton, and at 72mph in a 60mph zone on the A24 at West Grinstead.
Two separate NIPs were sent to the registered keeper – Ozgur Uzum, 45, a fast food employee, of Salvington Road, Worthing, however they were both returned nominating another person from Hampshire.
Both NIPs were sent to the nominated driver but no response was received. Enquiries revealed this person had been nominated before, and it was confirmed the individual had been a victim of stolen identity.
In police interview, Uzum continued to deny the offences, however he later changed his plea to guilty after being shown an image from the A24 incident, which clearly showed him driving the vehicle in question.
The CPS authorised two charges of perverting the course of justice, and at Lewes Crown Court on 10 December, Uzum was sentenced to five months’ imprisonment. He was also ordered to pay a £115 victim surcharge.
Chris Raynor, of the Sussex Police Camera and Ticket Process Team, said: “This operation demonstrates that no matter how long it takes, we are determined to bring to justice those who break the law and put other road users’ lives at risk.
“What may appear to be a fairly low-level offence to some, is actually one which carries a maximum term of life imprisonment.
“Had these individuals admitted their wrongdoings in the first instance, they could have escaped with a fixed penalty notice of £100 and three point on their licence (for each offence); instead, they spent Christmas behind bars.”
Sussex Police launched Operation Pinocchio 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.