Pastor avoids penalty points

A RELIGIOUS leader has avoided being given points on his driving licence despite pleading guilty in court to having an uninsured car.

A RELIGIOUS leader has avoided being given points on his driving licence despite pleading guilty in court to having an uninsured car.

Pastor Harold Afflu, 36, of Kingfisher Avenue, is a minister at Ipswich International Church in Barrack Corner, Portman Road.

South East Suffolk Magistrates' Court heard that he was charged with the offence after a police officer spotted his H-registration Toyota Previa parked on a grass verge outside his home on December 16 last year.

Checks on the vehicle found it was uninsured - an offence that can result in between six and eight penalty points being imposed.

Charles Riddleston, mitigating, said Afflu had not used the car since the insurance expired on November 25 last year and did not realise he needed insurance to park on a grass verge.

Mr Riddleston argued that due to “special reasons” magistrates should opt to use their powers not to endorse Afflu's licence.

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Giving evidence in the witness box, Afflu said the car had been parked on the verge outside his home as he was in the process of selling it because it had a number of problems.

He said he had been approached in a car park by an African man who enquired about buying the car off him but could not recall the prospective purchaser's name.

He said he was waiting for the man to contact him again in the hope he could sell the car.

Mr Afflu said: “I didn't realise that parking on a grass verge a few metres from a driveway is considered part of the highway.”

He said his family has a second car to use on a daily basis.

Mr Riddleston asked magistrates to accept the fact that Afflu had not used the car and did not realise he was committing an offence.

“He made a genuine and honest mistake,” he said.

“He had been insured on the car in question and it was covered by an MOT.”

Chairman of the magistrates, Jane Fiske, ordered Afflu to pay a fine of £60 as well as costs of £60.

She said: “We do accept that you held an honest and mistaken belief that you were not committing an offence. We are finding special reasons and are not going to endorse your licence.”

What do you think of this sentence? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN, or e-mail eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk.

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