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GoPed scooter rider caught out by High Court classification ruling

PUBLISHED: 14:12 31 March 2019 | UPDATED: 16:56 02 April 2019

Scooters powered by a motor (combustion or electric) are considered mechanically propelled vehicles  Picture: SAM ROBBINS

Scooters powered by a motor (combustion or electric) are considered mechanically propelled vehicles Picture: SAM ROBBINS

A GoPed owner has learned that ignorance of the law is no defence for riding his scooter without a licence.

Cory Sawyer fell foul of a High Court judgement that deemed GoPed scooters a mechanically propelled vehicle intended for road use.

The 27-year-old unwittingly rode the vehicle without a licence, insurance or test certificate in Ipswich on October 18 last year.

It also meant the occasional cannabis user had an illegal level of the drug in his system when flagged down by a police officer at 4.35pm in Nacton Road.

Sawyer, of Trent Road, was banned from the road after admitting all four offences at Suffolk Magistrates’ Court last week.

Prosecutor Wayne Ablett said Lord Justice Pill had classified the GoPed as a vehicle requiring a licence, insurance and MOT certificate in 2000.

John Hughes, mitigating, said: “Sadly for Mr Sawyer, he didn’t know the ruling of the Lord Justice when he purchased the vehicle from its previous owner and was told he didn’t need a licence.

“He thought it was perfectly okay to use without one, but now knows that ignorance of the law is no defence.”

“He uses cannabis from time to time, partly to treat back pain, but by being on the scooter at the time, puts himself in a situation whereby he will lose his licence.”

A character reference was addressed to magistrates by a local plastering firm, which had offered Sawyer full-time employment and called him both “kind-hearted” and “willing to better his future”.

He was fined £120 and banned from driving for the minimum compulsory term of 12 months for driving with 3.5 micrograms of cannabis derivative Delta-9THC per litre of blood – the legal limit being 2mcg.

He was also fined £120, and his licence endorsed, for driving without insurance, and faced no separate penalty for the other two offences.

Sawyer’s case was almost identical in circumstances to that of a 33-year-old Ipswich man caught riding a GoPed in Wherry Quay last January while uninsured, unlicensed and in excess of the driving limit for cannabis.

He too told magistrates of his ignorance of the law, but also failed to avoid being banned for 12 months.

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