Disqualified driver spared jail after police caught him behind wheel of car near Asda Corby

He had previously been jailed in 2021
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A disqualified driver who tried to trick police into thinking he was a passenger in a car and not behind the wheel as he drove along Phoenix Parkway in Corby has been spared a return to jail.

Roman Francis of Mere Road, Bitteswell, Leicestershire had already been disqualified when police spotted him driving near Asda with a female passenger on April 29 last year.

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Suspicious officers turned round to follow the Ford Focus during which time Francis stopped the car and his companion took over driving.

Roman Francis (inset) West Midlands Police in Phoenix Parkway (Google)Roman Francis (inset) West Midlands Police in Phoenix Parkway (Google)
Roman Francis (inset) West Midlands Police in Phoenix Parkway (Google)

Northampton Magistrates’ Court heard that Francis, 37, who has 15 driving convictions and committed 47 previous offences, had panicked when he saw the police.

Francis had pleaded guilty at a previous hearing to driving while disqualified and driving without insurance.

Mitigating Alistair Evans said: “He did panic. He accepts that what he did was foolish. He had been foolish to drive.”

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The court heard that Francis had an ongoing problem with alcohol but had a ‘chip’ implanted that had helped him abstain from drinking and since the incident had not been in trouble. Mr Evans also told the court that Francis’ wife is pregnant and that she had suffered previous medical issues.

Roman Francis West Midlands PoliceRoman Francis West Midlands Police
Roman Francis West Midlands Police
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Sentencing, District Judge Amar Mehta said: “You are not trusted to be on the road. Driving while disqualified is serious.”

Francis’ long list of previous driving convictions was read out – his most recent in 2021 when he had been sentenced to 28 months in prison for dangerous driving, drink driving, driving whilst disqualified and aggravated vehicle taking.

Judge Mehta said: “The list goes on. The combination of previous convictions is so serious that only a custodial sentence is justified.

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"You have become within a whisker of being sent to prison. Imprisonment would be disastrous on your wife. This must be seen by you as a last chance.”

Francis was sentenced to 18 weeks suspended for 12 months, ordered to 240 hours of unpaid work and take part in 25 rehabilitation days with an 120-day alcohol abstinence programme. He was disqualified for a further 12 months to run concurrently. He was fined £620 and must pay a £154 victim surcharge.

To regain his licence Francis must take an extended driving test.