Clerk 'helped drivers escape bans'

Preston Crown Court Credit: PA

A court clerk from Liverpool helped more than 70 motorists falsify their driving records and escape bans, a court has heard.

Clerical assistant David Kelly, 47, is said to have operated the scam from his workplace in the admin department at Liverpool Magistrates' Court.

It is alleged he assisted 71 drivers in removing details of their convictions, disqualifications and penalty points on 110 occasions between 2004 and 2010.

A jury at Preston Crown Court was told that motorists would pass cash to intermediaries to set up the deletion of driving offences from their licences.

Kelly would then send forms from the court to the DVLA to request the alterations, it is alleged.

The Crown says Kelly abused his position and that the only sensible motive was financial gain.

DVLA officers in Swansea first became suspicious of Kelly in September 2008 when he faxed a number of bogus forms, say prosecutors.

But the jury was told Kelly was cleared to continue working after an internal investigation and was finally caught in April 2010 when court staff discovered bogus forms and driver details in a confidential waste sack.

Giving evidence, DVLA admin officer Fiona Szwediak said she became suspicious when she received a batch of faxed documents from Liverpool in 2008.

She said one form "stood out" in which it had been declared by the motorist they were unaware of a previous drink-drive conviction, despite records showing the same driver had reapplied for his licence after the ban ran out.

The witness said she had spoken to the defendant on "many occasions over the years" and rang him to raise her concerns.

"He said it had all been a special exercise going on at the court at the moment," she said.

She then said she asked him to fax the information through again to confirm it was correct.

Kelly sent a fax back the next day with a handwritten note stating the drink-driver matter she had raised was "a clerical error".

"When this came through it did not read true," she told the court. "He said it was part of a special exercise and then he said it was a clerical error. It didn't stack up."

Kelly denies conspiracy to pervert the course of justice.

In the dock with him are four of his alleged "customers", Shaun Robinson, 24, Samantha Evans, 25, Mark Camello, 33, and Terence Nash, 27, who all deny perverting the course of justice.