A Crawley taxi driver caught speeding in the dead of night tried to pin it on a Chinese takeaway driver.
Now-banned cabbie Muzammil Zawahir was snapped by speed cameras twice back in 2015, and both times lied about who was driving.
But the 35-year-old, of The Birches, walked free from court today because of how long the case had taken to get to trial.
He pleaded guilty to a charge of perverting the course of justice and was sentenced at Hove Crown Court this morning.
Prosecutor Richard Sedgwick said: “In a nutshell on two occasions Mr Zawahir was speeding while working as a taxi driver and on two occasions he nominated another person to take the points.
“He nominated a Mr Iqbal who appears to have been living with him at the time.”
Zawahir was working as a taxi driver at both times he was caught speeding. The court heard that Mr Iqbal sometimes used the vehicle to deliver Chinese takeaway food.
Zawahir has since had his taxi license revoked.
But despite the speeding taking place in 2015 and being quizzed by police in 2017, it was not until January this year that Zawahir’s trial was set to begin.
The court heard that two police forces were initially involved in the investigation.
He pleaded guilty on the day of trial and the case was listed for sentence today, nearly four years since the actual offences.
Told that normally the sentence would have been one of immediate custody, Zawahir’s defence barrister Andrew Turton said: “He’s had that hanging over his head for some time.”
He also cited Zawahir’s good character.
Sentencing him, Judge Jeremy Gold QC said: “This is a case where because of the quite exceptional delay I can take an exceptional course.
“It is perhaps fortunate for you.
“If [the case] had come on in a timely fashion I would have had no alternative than to send you immediately to prison for what are serious offences.”
Instead Zawahir was given a six-month jail sentence, suspended for two years.
He must carry out 200 hours of unpaid work and pay prosecution costs