Banned motorist gave police his brother’s name

Wigan and Leigh Magistrates' Court
Wigan and Leigh Magistrates' Court

A man banned from the road was caught driving on a section of Wigan motorway and then pretended to be his brother, a court heard.

James Byrne was stopped by officers on the M6 in Shevington and later admitted he had driven to work on several occasions despite forfeiting his licence in 2015.

The “irresponsible and immature” 31-year-old was handed a 10-week prison sentence suspended for two years.

A hearing at Wigan and Leigh Magistrates’ Court was told Byrne’s vehicle had activated a police traffic camera on April 28 due to his previous disqualification.

A traffic officer at the Crow Orchard Road service station off junction 27 of the M6 observed the vehicle joining the motorway on the southbound carriageway around midday.

Tess Kenyon, prosecuting, told the court when the vehicle was pulled over, Byrne gave his name as “Robert” but appeared nervous, according to the officers.

He initially denied having any identification but when officers checked his wallet he admitted he had given false details and was subject to a ban.

The court heard Byrne had been travelling back from working in Eccleston and he had “panicked” when “put on the spot” by police and gave his brother’s name.

A probation officer told the court the railway worker had owned up to the fact he had been driving during his ban, including for one work placement from his home in Liverpool to Runcorn.

“He put his own needs above those of other road users,” she said.

Brian Whitfield, defending, said there was no suggestion Byrne had been driving dangerously but “quite simply, this gentleman has been massively irresponsible and immature.”

Since the incident his family is now aware of his previous driving ban, triggered by an offence of failing to provide a roadside specimen.

Mr Whitfield said his client is now finding alternative transport to work and was ashamed of his actions.

Byrne, of Molyneux Road, Waterloo, pleaded guilty to charges of driving while disqualified and without third party insurance. His driving ban will now run for a further 24 months until 2019.

Addressing him for sentencing, the presiding magistrate said: “We take a dim view of people that drive when they have been banned. Accidents or anything could have happened and you have said you have been driving on a number of occasions. If you are caught driving again you know what will happen.”