Warrant issued for arrest of driver, 94, after he fails to turn up for court

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A WARRANT has been issued for the arrest of a 94-year-old man who failed to turn up at court.

Robert Staines, of East Boldon Road, Cleadon, was summonsed to Sunderland Magistrates’ Court for three motoring offences.

He was accused of driving with defective eyesight, driving without insurance, and driving otherwise than in accordance with his licence, all on August 28.

Staines did not turn up for the preliminary hearing of the case, the trial, or the sentencing hearing.

Glenda Beck, prosecuting, said: “He has failed to attend on three occasions.

“A warrant is a very serious step to take in the case of a 94-year-old defendant, but he doesn’t appear to be taking any notice of these proceedings.”

The court earlier heard police visited Staines to tell him his licence had been revoked by the DVLA on medical grounds.

Officers later saw him driving his BMW with its personalised plate in Washington.

They believed his licence was still revoked and stopped him.

Staines failed a roadside eyesight test, which led to him being summonsed for the three offences.

Ms Beck said: “He failed to turn up for the trial, and was convicted of all offences in his absence.”

The Clerk to the Justices advised the bench that it is always desirable for a motoring defendant to be present in court if he may be disqualified.

“A disqualification takes place immediately,” said the clerk. “If the defendant is present, he can be advised that he cannot drive from the court.

“Being present removes the possibility of an unintentional breach of a disqualification order.”

The bench issued a warrant for the arrest of Staines so he can be present to hear his sentence passed.