A COVENTRY man who tried to cheat to pass his driving theory test finally got a licence by legitimate means – only to have it taken from him by a judge.
Masood Noori had pleaded guilty to possessing an article for use in fraud after being caught with a Bluetooth earpiece as he was about to take the theory test.
But he escaped being jailed after a judge at Warwick Crown Court decided to punish him by depriving him of the ‘privilege of being allowed to drive on the roads.’
Noori (46) of North Street, Coventry, was given a 12-month community order with 180 hours of unpaid work, and was banned from driving for a year and ordered to pay £1,786 costs.
Prosecutor Olivia Maginn said that in May 2018 Noori arrived at the Coventry driving test centre to take the theory part of his test.
As with all candidates, he was required to put his phone and any other devices into a locker.
But as Noori was about to put on the headphones to begin the test, staff noticed he had a Bluetooth earpiece in his ear, so they halted the test.
Noori’s plan was that an accomplice elsewhere would be able to hear the questions and feed him the answers.
When he was interviewed in March last year, he admitted taking the Bluetooth device in with him, but claimed he had found it outside the test centre and was not planning to use it.
Preet-Paul Tutt, defending, said Noori was a Kurd who had fled from Iraq in 2001, and was granted asylum and obtained a British passport in 2009.
Having learned to drive 26 years ago in Iraq, he was told he would have to take a test here, and in 2010 he successfully sat the theory test, with the questions in his native Kurdish Sorani.
But Noori then went back to Iraq to see his wife, and remained there until he returned with his family in 2017.
He was told he had to re-sit the theory test, which by then had to be done in English, and he failed it on two occasions.
So he resorted to using the Bluetooth device as ‘an act of desperation’ to help him pass the test and increase his chances of getting a job to support his wife and five children.
But Mr Tutt pointed out: “He had left his phone in the locker, so there was no way this was going to succeed.
“He has retaken the theory test on five or six further occasions and failed, but did finally pass in August 2019.”
Judge Peter Cooke asked Noori directly: “You live in Coventry. How have you travelled here today?”
Told by Noori that he had driven, the judge told Mr Tutt: “What I am going to do is to tell him to go home in his car, leave it there and get on a bus and come back, because I’m going to disqualify him as part of his punishment.”
Noori protested about losing his licence, but Judge Cooke warned him: “You’re not going to prison. Be thankful.”
When the case resumed three hours later, Mr Tutt argued against a driving ban, giving reasons why Noori needed to retain his licence – but they were rejected by the judge.
Sentencing Noori, Judge Cooke told him: “If you set out deliberately and dishonestly to subvert part of the driving test procedure, which is all in place to keep us all safe on the roads, then you put yourself at grave risk of being sent to prison.
“You have been living in the United Kingdom since 2001. You are a family man, and you have not previously been convicted of any crime.
“I intend to punish you, and punish you severely, for your attempt to subvert the test system, not just to reflect what you did, but to send out an appropriate message to anyone who might be tempted to do the same.
“It is extremely appropriate that part of your punishment should be to deprive you of the privilege of being permitted to drive on the roads. That means your 2008 VW Golf is no use to you or your family.”
And ordering him to pay the costs, the judge added: “If you offend in a way which requires a Government agency like the DVSA to undertake its own investigation, then you can expect to pick up the bill and not expect the tax payer to do so.
“How you arrange your family finances is for you, not for me, but if I were you I would sell the car.”