Sunderland van driver caught behind the wheel while banned went to court scared of being jailed

Driver went to court expecting not to return home

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A dad caught driving in Sunderland while banned feared being jailed for his latest roads’ crime, a court heard.

Ross Henry’s solicitor said he was “terrified” of the punishment magistrates in South Tyneside could impose.

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Police found Henry, of Woodville Avenue, Beechwood, Middlesbrough, driving a Mercedes van on the city west A1231 Wessington Way on Saturday, April 15. 

Roadside checks showed he had been disqualified for a year last September for motoring without insurance.

The fibre optics worker pleaded guilty to driving while banned and driving without insurance.

Magistrates punished him with six penalty points and a £400 fine but made no mention of putting him behind bars.

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They were told he had also committed the same two offences together in 2013.

Prosecutor Jessica Singh said: “An officer has stopped a Mercedes Sprinter van on a public road.

“The driver was found to be Mr Ross Henry. The officer has conducted checks on the police national computer.

“He found that the defendant was disqualified until September 4, and that any form of insurance would be invalid. The vehicle was seized because there was no insurance.

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“In terms of aggravating factors, it’s just the previous matters of a similar nature.”

Joanne Gatens, defending, said: “The police officer didn’t give any explanation about why Mr Ross was pulled over. There’s nothing to imply anything with the manner of driving.

“The van had been left by a friend and Mr Ross had agreed to move it for him only a short distance.

“Mr Ross has come to court today absolutely terrified of going to prison. I can understand that because his driving record is not what it should be.

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“There were no aggravating factors other than that he was driving while disqualified.”

Henry must also pay a £160 victim surcharge and £85 court costs.

Kay Gilbert, chair of the bench, told him the imposition of penalty points meant he needed to be extremely careful of committing any fresh driving offence.

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