Newton Abbott Magistrates Court fined 2 Qatar service personnel, who were based at Britannia Royal Naval College, when they committed a total of 25 speeding tickets between in one month.
Al-Ishaq was fined £7810, ordered to pay £77 victim surcharge and £85 costs, given 61 points and disqualified from driving for 4 years, the second more ‘lenient’ sentence given to Al-Mahmoud was only £4810, ordered to pay £77 victim surcharge and £85 costs, 38 points and disqualified from driving for four years.
On 5th June 2018 the Peninsula Road Safety Partnership, captured 2 internationally registered Black Mercedes exceeding the speed limit on the A385 Ashburton Road, coming out of Totnes.
There quickly followed a series of offences in Plymouth, with one driver, Tameem Mohammed Al-Ishaq recorded at 53 mph on Royal Parade in Plymouth on the camera right next to the busy pedestrian crossing, plus several in the high 50’s low 60’s along the A374 Embankment. In total 15 offences.
The second Mercedes, driven by Ahmed Al-Mahmoud racked up another 10 speeding offences of a similar speed, including 97mph in a 70 limit on the A38.
Following some good old fashioned detective work and examination in detail of the writing on the registration numbers identified them as from Qatar, both vehicles having been imported by their owners. Markers were placed on both vehicles nationally and it soon became apparent that offences had also been captured for both vehicles outside of our area, but Devon & Cornwall remained as the lead investigators, the other offences were laid on file rather than complicated the investigation further with cross jurisdiction Court prosecution issues.
The vehicles were stopped in the West Midlands and London and initial addresses provided proved to be out of date or false. However they used their Qatar driving licences as proof of identification.
Subsequent enquiries between the Ministry of Defence in London and the Qatar Embassy, resulted in both drivers being identified as international students at Britannia Royal Naval College.
The Commanding Officers at Britannia Royal Naval College cannot be faulted in the assistance they provided the Police, it was one of the first cases the new No Excuse Team became involved in, full access was provided and all of the 25 Notices of Intended Prosecution were hand served on the 2 International Naval Officers. The Royal Navy also dealt with both officers under their own disciplinary code.
Both students accepted their Notices, but then went down the ‘Loop Hole’ lawyer route employing the services of a London firm specialising in such issues. Neither turned up for the first court hearing so confident where they in their Lawyers. Despite their not guilty pleas, both were found guilty in the absence, and sentencing was adjourned from Bodmin magistrates Court on 27th November 2018 to Newton Abbott Magistrates Court for disqualification on 1st February 2019.
Both were again instructed by the Court to attend, but choose not to, a decision they may now regret given the severity of their fines and disqualification period.
Marcus Laine, the Operations manager for the Peninsula Road Safety Partnership stated:
”This investigation demonstrates that it does not matter where you are from, how privileged a background you may come from, you are not above the law. The fines, points and disqualification periods imposed by the Magistrates absolutely reflects the dim view taken by the bench and the partnership towards excessive and persistent speeders.
All of the roads were these offences have taken place have had series and fatal collisions in the past. Driving through Plymouth City Centre and in particular Royal parade at almost twice the speed limit, any member of the public that had been involved in a collision with these pair would have most likely resulted in a death.
Had we not identified them as quickly as we did and let it be known that such driving behaviour would not be tolerated, I’m sure we would have been dealing with at least one fatality, either the drivers or an innocent member of the public.
We would like to that the Royal Navy for their exemplary assistance in this matter, even post-conviction the Commanding Offices of Britannia Naval College have offered their assistance to the Court with regard to fine correspondence and ensuring it reaches it intended destination, now that the students are no longer at the College.