Driver who hid from police denies crashing car on M65

Burnley Magistrates Court

Burnley Magistrates Court

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A man who was convicted of failing to provide a specimen of breath after a motorway smash claimed he would have had a medical defence, as he had asthma, a court heard.

Burnley Magistrates’ Court was told Mudassar Iqbal (22) hadn’t turned up for his trial after denying the allegation.

He was found guilty in his absence, a warrant was issued and he handed himself in to the police on Tuesday morning. The defendant plans to appeal the conviction at Burnley Crown Court.

Iqbal, who doesn’t accept he was driving the vehicle that crashed, was said to have been found hiding, trying to evade arrest by police. Two other men said to have been occupants and who were also asked to give breath tests, denied having been at the wheel as well.

The unemployed defendant, of Berry Street, Brierfield, was fined £300, with £200 costs and a £30 victim surcharge. He was banned for a year. Iqbal admitted failing to surrender.

Prosecutor Mrs Philippa White told the court the crashed vehicle had collided with a lamppost on an M65 sliproad at junction 13, on May 1st. The occupants had walked off.

Police attended and were advised the occupants were hiding. Mrs White continued: “Three men were located. All denied that they were the driver. The defendant was arrested. He failed to provide a specimen after two attempts and didn’t give a reading. He entered a not guilty plea and was found guilty in his absence.”

Catherine Fell (defending) said he had been unable to provide a specimen of breath. He confirmed to the custody sergeant that he had asthma.

She continued: “He doesn’t accept he was driving the vehicle that crashed. He provided an account to say he was walking to a friend’s house when he was arrested by the police.

“He made various comments to the police that he had not done anything wrong and then went to the police station.”

Miss Fell said the defendant was claiming benefits and being helped by his family financially, She added: “The police cannot prove he was driving that vehicle.”