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Wife signed form saying she was M40 speeder ‘by mistake’, court hears

Byoxfordnewspaper

Aug 17, 2022

A woman incorrectly signed a police form saying she was the speeding driver – when it was, in fact, her husband who hit 99mph.

Narinder Kaur told Oxford magistrates that she was asleep in the back seat of the Vauxhall Corsa Elite when it was clocked doing almost a ton on the M40 near Great Milton on August 4 last year. The couple were on their way from their home in the West Midlands to a wedding in the capital.

When a month later she received a letter from Thames Valley Police through the post asking her who was in the driving seat, she signed it. But she claimed not to have been the one who ticked the box confirming she was the driver, nor had she read the ‘declaration of truth’ confirming what she had signed was correct.

The justices were told by 65-year-old Kaur that she had put her name to the form as hers was the name on the insurance and she had signed for the hire car.

In February this year, five months after the first Thames Valley Police letter, her husband replied to a notice of intended prosecution.

In the letter, he explained that he had been the speeding driver and apologised for his wife’s mistake in putting her own details in the first form. “This was not done deliberately, just a genuine mistake on her [part],” the Home Office immigration reporting centre custody officer said.

The magistrates cleared Kaur, of Leopard Lane, West Bromwich, of speeding, with chairman of the bench Mark Howard saying he and his colleagues could not be sure beyond reasonable doubt that the defendant had been driving the car.

But he said Kaur and her husband gave ‘contradictory’ evidence.

Speaking through an interpreter, Kaur told the JPs she opened the September letter as it was in her name. “My husband was not there. I just signed it. I cannot remember whether I checked it – whether it was filled or not,” she said.

Earlier, she told the prosecutor in cross-examination: “My husband posted the letter. Before that he filled it.” Her details, including her driving licence number, were in his handwriting.

Notwithstanding his claim in the February letter that he had not seen the form sent by the police in September, the husband appeared to say from the stand that he had filled-in the earlier note.

“The first letter, I think I messed-up when I put her name down,” he said in cross-examination.

He was accused by prosecutor Fred Sagoe of ‘frustrating’ the justice process, as the authorities have only six months from the date of a speeding offence to bring a prosecution.

Pronouncing judgement, chairman of the bench Mr Howard said: “We find that a serious speeding offence did occur in the vehicle in question.

“We are not sure who filled in the form, but the defendant signed it.

“We are not clear if Ms Kaur had full understanding of the form and its contents before sighing it.

“We’ve reached the conclusion because the evidence given by the defendant and the witness was very contradictory – within their own evidence but also of each other – so it is difficult to rely on either.”

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This story was written by Tom Seaward. He joined the team in 2021 as Oxfordshire's court and crime reporter.

To get in touch with him email: Tom.Seaward@newsquest.co.uk

Follow him on Twitter: @t_seaward