ELY: Disabled Driver is Banned After Failing To Stop After Crash

PUBLISHED: 16:31 27 April 2009 | UPDATED: 10:51 04 May 2010

A DISABLED driver has been banned from driving by city magistrates. Mathew John Lelean 38, of Hills Lane, Ely, appeared in court charged with driving without due care and attention, failing to stop after an accident and failing to report an accident. Lele

A DISABLED driver has been banned from driving by city magistrates.

Mathew John Lelean 38, of Hills Lane, Ely, appeared in court charged with driving without due care and attention, failing to stop after an accident and failing to report an accident.

Lelean, who suffers from muscular dystrophy, pleaded guilty to all three charges. He was not represented by a solicitor in court.

Delia Matthews, prosecuting, told the magistrates that Lelean had been involved in an accident on the A142 at Soham in the early hours of October 18.

She said he had lost control of his Vauxhall car and gone over a roundabout, causing damage to a chevron board and lamp post. However, instead of calling the police, Lelean drove off, without any headlights, and abandoned the vehicle further down the road, which the police found. They used the vehicles details to track Lelean down and arrested him.

Lelean said: "I realise now that I should have stopped and reported the accident. I just panicked. It could have been a lot worse and I feel fortunate that no one else was hurt. I really regret what happened and I am very sorry for my actions."

The magistrates fined him £215 for failing to stop and report the accident and put seven points on his license - taking him over the 12 point limit and liable for disqualification.

Lelean addressed the magistrates to tell them that he would suffer "exceptional hardship" if he had his license suspended.

He said: "Because of my disability, I rely on my car quite a lot. It would really impair my life if I was banned."

However, after lengthy deliberations, the magistrates did not find that Lelean would suffer exceptional hardship.

Dr Christine Shaw, chairman of the bench, said: "The length of time we have spent deliberating proves what a difficult decision this has been. The rules we have to abide by are quite clear. There are strong criteria to be met by anybody pleading exceptional hardship, for example, will you lose your job, not be able to pay your mortgage and lose the family home?

"We are extremely sympathetic about your condition but with great reluctance we feel the disqualification will have to go ahead."

Lelean will also pay £35 costs, a £15 victim surcharge and a separate £70 fine for driving without due care.

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