Motorist jailed after repeatedly ignoring four year driving ban

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A banned motorist who failed to convince a judge that he should get back his licence had driven illegally to and from the court hearing.

Christopher Proud, 38, a successful businessman in west Cumbria, was jailed after magistrates heard how he repeatedly flouted a 48-month disqualification imposed during an earlier hearing.

Proud, of Cross Gates, Lamplugh, near Whitehaven, admitted three disqualified driving offences and associated motoring offences.

He also pleaded guilty to possessing cannabis.

At Carlisle Magistrates’ Court, prosecutor John Moran said at the time of the offences the defendant was supposed to be serving a 48-month driving ban for failing to give a police officer a specimen for analysis.

The ban was imposed on January 16 this year.

Unhappy with losing his licence, Proud lodged an appeal at Carlisle Crown Court and the hearing date was set for March 31.

Despite being banned, Proud drove along the A595 to Carlisle in his Vauxhall Astra for the hearing. Incredibly, even when his appeal was dismissed by the judge, he got back into his car and drove home again, said Mr Moran.

He committed the other two disqualified driving offences on March 16, when he drove a large goods vehicle in High Street, Workington and on April 1, when he drove an Audi in Thirlmere Avenue, also in Workington.

He was recognised as a banned driver by a police officer who saw him driving in Workington on March 16, said Mr Moran. The April 1 offence was discovered after he was stopped by the same police officer.

Mr Moran said that at first the defendant denied commiting the March 31 offence, claiming he was elsewhere.

“Police had to spend a lot of man hours going through CCTV images to establish that he wasn’t elsewhere, and all that work could have been saved if he had entered guilty pleas at the first opportunity,” said Mr Moran.

Mike Woolaghan, for Proud, said: “The driving on March 31 was an emergency situation he had found himself in. He’d made an emergency arrangement to attend court for the appeal.”

That lift had fallen through, said the lawyer.

Mr Woolghan said: “There was no option for taking public transport to get to court and he foolishly decided to drive to the court so he didn’t miss the hearing. There was no evidence of bad driving.”

The lawyer added that Proud was a successful businessman, effectively his firm’s managing director, responsible for signing off contracts.

His current incarceration was already having an impact on his position in the firm and on its management and employees. But the lawyer said Proud was hopeful that he would be able to delegate some of his work.

Magistrates imposed a total of 318 days jail – with the sentence including a 140-day term that was imposed earlier but suspended. The defendant was also given a new driving ban, this time for 60 months.

As the hearing ended, the defendant, who took part via a video link from Durham Prison, said to the magistrates: “Can I just ask who the victim is?”

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