Sunderland man caught driving Audi while banned

A Sunderland man who drove only months into a two-year roads' ban has been warned he could have been jailed.

Thursday, 2nd December 2021, 9:40 am

Josh Downs, 27, of Association Road, Roker, got behind the wheel of his Audi A4 to give his cousin a lift.

But he was stopped by police as he drove in Roker Park Road, almost at the completion of the return leg on Friday, July 30.

Magistrates in South Tyneside extended his ban by a year – and told him his crime may have seen him put behind bars.

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He was stopped in Roker Park Road.

Gerald Tierney, chair of the bench, said Downs had “driven fairly shortly after a two-year disqualification”.

He added: “You could have gone into custody for this. That’s the message.

“You’ve driven while disqualified in breach of a court order. Courts take a dim view of people who breach court orders.”

To compound matters, the court heard Downs had already completed a self-paid drink-driver rehabilitation course.

It would have reduced his original ban by a quarter, but he will now not be back in the driver's seat until August 28, 2023 at the earliest.

Prosecutor Lillian Yanes Hellevik said: “Officers were on mobile patrol and travelling north across Wearmouth Bridge.

“Following checks on the police national computer, it came to light that he was disqualified.

“He was interviewed at the roadside and admitted both offences.

“It’s high culpability because he was stopped shortly after the disqualification was imposed.

“It’s a suggested disqualification of another six to 12 months. There are no aggravating factors in this case.”

Downs pleaded guilty to driving while disqualified and driving without insurance.

Paul McAlindon, defending, said: “He was well aware that he was disqualified.

“His cousin was in some difficulties and asked him for a lift. Against his better judgement, he went to pick her up.

“He was on his way home when he was stopped by the police.

“It’s not a vehicle he obtained during his disqualification period, and he wasn’t driving for gain.”

Magistrates also ordered Downs to undertake 100 hours of unpaid work, and he must pay a £95 victim surcharge and £85 court costs.

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