A DISQUALIFIED driver has been given a suspended prison sentence after he drove his son’s car – to stop him breaching his own driving ban.
Gilbert Wrathal, 56, was caught driving a Mondeo in Station Road, Washington, last June, Sunderland magistrates heard.
He had been intending to take the car to the town’s Pattinson Industrial Estate, so that his son – who had received a brief driving ban from totting up points on his licence – would not be tempted to get behind the wheel.
Prosecutor Paul Anderson said Wrathal was banned from the roads after being convicted of dangerous driving in 2004.
He was ordered to take an extended driving test at the end of his disqualification, and because he had not, he remains a disqualified driver.
Mr Anderson said: “He was driving his son’s vehicle on June 15 when he stopped at a shop.
“The police stopped him, he admitted to the officer he was a disqualified driver.” Originally from Sunderland, Wrathal, of Front Street, Langley Park, County Durham, told police his son had “some difficulties in the recent past with driving”.
“He thought it was unwise to leave the car where his son has access to it, to prevent him getting into further trouble,” Mr Anderson said.
“Obviously, he got himself into further trouble as a result.”
Wrathal admitted driving while disqualified and without insurance.
Neil Hodgson, defending, said: “The incident occurred in Washington in June.
“This is one of those catch-all situations where he’s not actually disqualified.
“The disqualification dates back 11 years, to 2004, when he was told that he is disqualified until he passes an extended driving test.
“The disqualification has actually ended, but he has not done the test. That makes it less serious.
“He is 56, he doesn’t want to go to prison.
“His son has been disqualified under the totting-up procedure.
“His son and he were having words. His son had a car. He had more or less said ‘I’m going to keep driving’.
“He goes across and decides to take the car from his son’s to a friend at Pattinson, who were going to keep the car until the short ban was over.
“There wasn’t a crash. He apologised to the police at the time.
“He knows he’s done wrong. He’s been an utter fool and he needs to learn.”
Wrathal was given 12 weeks’ imprisonment, suspended for 18 months.
He will be supervised by the probation service for one year.
He was told to pay £85 costs and £80 victim surcharge.
His licence will be endorsed with six penalty points.