Nelson taxi driver jailed lied to crown court judge

Burnley Crown Court.
Burnley Crown Court.

A TAXI driver who lied on oath in crown court to try to keep his driving licence has been jailed for eight months.

Burnley Crown Court heard how Zaheer Shah had faced disqualification after being convicted, in his absence, of speeding. He than appealed against the conviction and ban at Preston Crown Court, telling Judge Graham Knowles and two magistrates he had not been at the wheel and had never been a cabbie.

But the police officers who had stopped him were still in court and he had shown them a taxi licence as identification. Prosecutors were alerted, he landed in far deeper trouble and was later brought back before the courts.

Shah (27), of Hartley Street, Nelson, was last month convicted of perjury by a jury after a trial. He denied the allegation.

The Burnley hearing had been told how, in the early hours of October, 2009, the defendant was stopped for speeding in Preston. He gave his name, date of birth and address and produced a cab licence for ID. A fixed penalty notice was issued, it was not accepted and a summons in the defendant’s name was issued. Shah did not attend court in response to it.

The defendant was convicted, in his absence, of speeding and because he already had eight points on his licence and was given six more points, he was disqualified under the totting up procedure.

In September last year, Shah attended an appeal hearing. On oath, he claimed he had not been the driver, was not a cabbie and never had been.

Miss Katie Jones, for Shah, now a part-time tyre fitter, said if he had responded to the fixed penalty notice in the proper way, he would have got three points on his licence and a fine.

The defendant was due to enter into an arranged marriage and supported his fiancee, who was in Pakistan, financially. He had never been to custody before. Miss Jones added Shah had not lied to get anybody else in to trouble, but to get himself out of trouble.

Sentencing, Recorder Dennis Watson told Shah that lying to a crown court on oath was very serious indeed. The defendant had made a statement saying he had not worked as a taxi driver, which he knew to be false, because plainly he had.

The judge added: “If I imposed a suspended sentence, it would send out the message it was entirely OK to lie to the court on oath.” At the end of the hearing, Shah abandoned his appeal against conviction and it was dismissed.