Motorists paid £100 per point to have them removed from their record
Six-year scheme run at Liverpool Magistrates’ Court charged motorists £100 to rub out penalty point
Liverpool Magistrates Court was at the centre of a six-year scam helping motorists avoid road bans by charging £100 to scrub out each penalty point from their driving licence, a judge was told.
The illegal scheme, operated from Dale Street magistrates’ court, was an open secret in the city’s pubs, a court heard.
Between 2004 and 2010, drivers faced with disqualification paid cash to middlemen, with forms sent from the court to the DVLA in Swansea illegally requesting that convictions be deleted.
At the sentencing of 11 motorists who took advantage of the scheme, Preston Crown Court heard how Liverpool court worker David Kelly denies running the racket.
Jonathan Sandiford, prosecuting, said: “The Crown says that the person responsible for this dishonest scheme was David Kelly, who was a member of staff at Liverpool magistrates’ court.
“Kelly disputes that assertion and the case against him is to be the subject of a trial later in the year.
“The Crown’s case against the defendants before the court today is that they were customers of the dishonest scheme, who paid money to have convictions and penalty points removed from their driving licences.”
The 11 drivers were sentenced for perverting the course of justice yesterday.
Judge Graham Knowles, QC, said: “Somebody was running a corrupt business from Dale Street, bypassing justice after everyone thought it had been done.
“You all knew that there had to be a corrupt official to tamper with your records. There had to be to make the scheme work.
“You knew that the corrupt official had agents in the field meeting you in public houses and wherever else to offer a service, to do a deal and take your cash.”
Taxi driver Gerard Tootle, of Yelverton Road, Anfield, escaped four potential disqualifications by paying for speeding points to be scrubbed from his record over a two-year period.
The 46-year-old was jailed for 16 months.
Judge Knowles agreed that none of the defendants knew the identity of the bogus court worker.
But he said: “You were joining yourselves to a widespread organisation and lining the pockets of a corrupt public official.
“You thought the law did not apply to you and you could buy off justice with corruption.”
Clerical assistant David Kelly denies 34 counts of conspiracy to pervert the course of public justice between 2004 and 2010.
Court scam an ‘open secret’ in Liverpool
The points scam was “common knowledge” in Liverpool, according to one driver today behind bars.
John Watson, 59, of Alwyn Street, Aigburth, already had nine points on his licence when he was caught driving without insurance in August, 2008 – an offence that has a minimum of six points.
But the next month, the DVLA received forms from Dale Street requesting that two earlier driving offences were removed from his licence, handing him his nine points back.
Detailing Watson’s police interview, Jonathan Sandiford, prosecuting, said: “Watson said it was common knowledge in Liverpool that there was a man who drank in the Kingsman public house [in Aigburth] who could arrange for penalty points to be removed from driving licences for £100 per point.
“Watson said he had paid £900 to have nine points removed – he handed over his licence and a few weeks later the man told him to apply for a duplicate licence.”
Watson was jailed for 10 months.
Relatives Ronald and Ian Ungi were jailed for 10 and six months respectively.
Pub licensee Ian, 46, of Grove Park, Toxteth, had three points on his licence taken off.
Ronald, 51, of Parkhill Road, Toxteth, used the points scam twice.
Terence McFee, 56, of Grafton Street, Toxteth, avoided disqualification through the scam. He was jailed for a year.
Pensioner Robert McLaughlin was on the brink of a road ban when he paid to have points removed in 2010.
The 71-year-old, of Poplar Road, Woolton, was jailed for four months.
New driver David Cole, 27, of Malt Street, Edge Hill, had six points taken off while under a probation period. He was jailed for eight months.
Mum Zeita Kelly, 36, of Birchfield Road, Edge Hill, had three forms sent to the DVLA in a bid to have some of her nine points removed – but all three applications were unsuccessful. She was jailed for four months.
Musician Robert Pollard, 56, of Mullion Road, Croxteth, was jailed for five months after his driving without insurance conviction had been overturned.
Rebecca Mottram, 40, of Courthorpe Road, Walton, escaped a prison term after the judge heard that her son battled leukaemia and required constant support.
Paul Ferraiolo, 36, of Fox Bank Close, Widnes, was also handed a suspended sentence.