Nelson driver who gave wrong ID caught out by fingerprint

A driver whose lies when he was stopped by police landed an innocent man in court has escaped being locked up.

Burnley Crown Court heard how Muhammad Naeem (25) gave officers the details of a man named Basharat Ali, when he was spotted not wearing a seatbelt by officers.

Mr Ali was summonsed and ended up with the worry of having a court case hanging over him after his name and date of birth were used by the defendant to try to get himself out of trouble. Naeem, who did not have a licence at the time and still does not, was caught out because he gave police a fingerprint.

Naeem, who also has a conviction for police obstruction, was given two months in prison suspended for a year, with 100 hours’ unpaid work, and must pay £350 costs. The defendant, of Fir Street, Nelson, admitted attempting to pervert the course of justice. He was also banned for six months.

Michael Wallbank (prosecuting) said police stopped the defendant on January 13th last year in Nelson. When cautioned, he replied: “Can’t you just give me a warning?” He was handed a fixed penalty and gave Mr Ali’s details. He had no means of identification, but gave a fingerprint when requested to do so.

On February 6th, the police were contacted by the Central Ticket Office and were told Mr Ali had been to court and denied being the person who received the fixed penalty. An officer arranged for the fingerprint to be analysed and it was found to be the defendant’s.

Mr Wallbank said, on August 24th, Naeem was arrested at his home and owned up, saying he had wanted to avoid prosecution as he had no insurance.

Jonathan Norman, for Naeem, said he had matured, had married and he and his wife were expecting their first child. The solicitor continued: “He did not appreciate the serious nature of this matter. He’s extremely remorseful. He doesn’t mix in the wrong circles. He has a very good family life and doesn’t take either drink or drugs.”

Sentencing, Judge Jonathan Gibson told the defendant: “Offences of this nature, of course, strike at the very heart of the administration of justice.” The judge added, however: “It seems to me that you are, probably, now at 25, substantially more mature than when you were 23.”