Banned driver made 'stupid mistake' when he was caught driving friend's car half way through disqualification

A banned drug-driver caught behind the wheel in Washington delivered a roadside confession of his crime to police

Tuesday, 29th December 2020, 7:00 am

James Harkess, 21, of Eve Street, Horden, immediately admitted that he was disqualified when stopped on Thursday, September 17.

But the dad-of-two then clammed up and refused to answer further questions put to him in Sulgrave Road, Sulgrave.

Magistrates in South Tyneside heard he was six months into a one-year ban for drug-driving when pulled over in a friend’s Renault Megane.

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South Tyneside Law Courts. Picture by FRANK REID.

Prosecutor Becky Slade told the hearing: “The defendant was disqualified from driving on March 13 of this year for 12 months.

“On September 17 officers were on mobile patrol in Sulgrave Road when their attention was drawn to the defendant’s car.

“They caused the vehicle to stop and spoke to the driver with regard to his driving.

“The defendant told them that he was disqualified from driving and had no insurance. He declined to be interviewed further at the roadside.”

Richard Copsey, defending, told magistrates Harkess shared custody of his children with his former partner, who lives in Hartlepool.

Mr Cospey added: “He’s borrowed a friend’s car and the police have stopped him. He told them straight away what he had done.

“He could have made up all sorts of excuses, but he just wanted to visit a friend. He is six months into a 12-month ban.

“He’s made a stupid mistake and he has to be punished, but hopefully you can help as well.

“His children are quite young and getting them from Hartlepool to Horden will put a further burden on him.

“The people who will suffer are the children. If there’s a car, it’s better.

“He can make no excuses about what he did and that has to be dealt with. I ask you to consider points instead of a further disqualification.”

John Lee, chair of the bench, told Harkess it had been “fair play” that he had quickly admitted his guilt.

He gave Harkess, who pleaded guilty to driving while disqualified and driving without insurance, six penalty points and fined him £80, with a £96 victim surcharge and £85 court costs.

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