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Saturday, 19 April 2014

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Carlisle man threatens complaint to Home Secretary after driving conviction upheld

A former owner of a kebab shop has threatened to complain to the Home Secretary after failing to win an appeal against a conviction for a motoring offence.

Mustafa Rifat, 53, was at Carlisle Crown Court for the latest instalment in a long-running dispute with the authorities after he was twice convicted of driving his car without insurance.

He has already lost an appeal against a decision by the city’s magistrates to convict him of one of the offences.

But he is now pursuing an appeal against his conviction for a second identical offence.

Judge Barbara Forrester, sitting with two magistrates, upheld the first conviction a fortnight ago after hearing evidence that the insurance policy Rifat insisted was still in force had in fact been cancelled.

He was fined £150 and had six penalty points put on his licence for that offence which, with the six more points imposed for the similar offence just nine days later, meant he was disqualified from driving under the totting-up system.

When prosecuting barrister Frank Nance tried to explain the position to him before the judge and her colleagues entered court for another hearing at the Crown Court, Rifat, who used to run the Chilli Pepper, in Castlegate, Penrith, was reluctant to accept her decision to dismiss his appeal against the first conviction.

And he seemed altogether unaware of the second conviction.

He complained that he was “getting nowhere”, that nobody was prepared to listen to him, and that he would have to go to Home Secretary Theresa May to get a solution.

When Judge Forrester came into court she explained that, even though he still claimed he had insurance, the first conviction – that he had been driving without insurance on August 7 last year – had been upheld and there was nothing he could do about it.

She said it was now up to him to decide whether, in the light of that, he wanted to appeal against the second conviction for doing the same thing on August 16.

This case, she said, had been proved at the magistrates’ court in his absence and he had been fined £525 for it and had six more points put on his licence, resulting in the driving ban.

Rifat, who now lives in Mountain View, Carlisle, after spells in Nenthead and Penrith, appeared to be unaware that he had been convicted of any offence arising from being stopped by the police while driving on London Road, Carlisle, on August 16.

He said that was the day “they” had taken his car away, but he made no mention of any court case following from it. Rifat told Judge Forrester he would now launch an appeal against that second conviction.

The case was adjourned until July 27 for him to complete the paperwork. In the meantime his driving ban was suspended.

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