Student jailed for driving away from court minutes after being banned from driving

Credit: MEN syndication

A university student has been jailed for driving away from court just minutes after a judge had banned him from the roads.

Saif Shaikh, 20, who is in the middle of a business, finance and accounting degree at Manchester Metropolitan University, claimed he didn't understand that he had been disqualified.

Despite the ban, he left Manchester Crown Court on Wednesday [May 1], got into his VW Polo and drove off.

But a photographer captured him driving away and subsequent press coverage prompted police to arrest him at his home on Pickles Lane in Bradford, West Yorkshire.

When he appeared at Manchester and Salford Magistrates' Court yesterday [May 3], Shaikh admitted driving while disqualified and driving without insurance.

Jailing him for 12 weeks, District Judge James Hatton told him: "Probation have told me you have expressed remorse but at the same time you have sought to blame others and sought to avoid culpability.

"You were well aware you were disqualified from driving.

"You were given that indication by a crown court judge but you chose for reasons best known to yourself to immediately leave the court building and get into your car and drive the not inconsiderable distance to your home address.

"It's difficult to image a more flagrant breach of a court order."

"You seem to come from a good, supportive family. You are a university student and you seem to have a number of things going for you but this is an offence which is so serious that only a custodial sentence is appropriate."

The defendant's distraught mother watched from the public gallery as Shaikh was led away to begin his sentence.

Earlier, prosecutor Richard Greenhough told the court how a photographer had captured Shaikh driving his Polo away from a car park on Bridge Street, Manchester.

This came just minutes after Judge Timothy Smith had handed him an interim driving ban at Manchester Crown Court.

Shaikh had 'demonstrated remorse' when he was interviewed by a probation officer but claimed he wasn't aware he had been banned although, after he got home, he then used public transport, the court heard.

He claimed the latest incident had 'destroyed' his future and had left him scared of driving.

Shahid Ali, defending, pleaded for leniency and said his client had lost his father at the age of 14 and had to become 'the man of the house'.

He passed his exams and was studying a degree in business, finance and accounting, the court heard.

His mother was said to be 'absolutely aghast' at what her son had done.

Mr Shah, who hoped his client would be freed to sit exams in a few weeks, said: "He comes from a well-respected, law-abiding, god-fearing religious family."

Shaikh is to be sentenced for causing injury by dangerous driving - the crime that landed him the interim driving ban - at Manchester Crown Court on June 14.

Judge Smith issued Shaikh with a verbal interim disqualification on Wednesday. Shaikh nodded to the judge before leaving court.

He was seen walking to his car - parked around 50 yards away on Bridge Street - before driving away.

He was driving the same black Polo when he hit the woman on Upper Brook Street on November 18 last year.

The court heard the woman was visiting her son, who is in permanent care at Manchester Royal Infirmary.