A 34-year-old man has been fined £300 for driving his car without insurance after his policy was wrongly cancelled by the company company following a mix-up.
Ruben Jose Sousa Teixeira was ordered to pay £100 a month, but avoided disqualification or endorsement because the cancellation was not his fault.
He appeared for sentencing before Magistrate Bridget Shaw on Tuesday.
Advocate Sarah Dale, Teixeira's lawyer, said his situation was the same as someone moving house who would have forgotten to change his address with the insurance company. She added, however, that the insurance company did have Teixeira's correct address.
Pictured: Magistrate Bridget Shaw refused to impose a driving ban or endorse Teixeira's licence.
She said that unfortunately he had received a letter on 24 July that was addressed to a man with a similar but slightly different name. The letter, which included a wrong policy number, stated that the insurer had learned that the man had been convicted in Magistrate's Court and should get in touch with them.
As he thought the letter concerned someone else, Teixeira ignored it. "Unbeknownst to him [the insurance company] cancelled his insurance," Advocate Dale said, adding that because of this, Teixeira didn't receive a renewal notice.
Advocate Dale said that the insurance company had since apologised for the error but said that Teixeira accepted he should have kept an eye on the disc.
Magistrate Bridget Shaw said it was "quite extraordinary that an insurance company could have the wrong name and policy number and then cancel this gentleman’s insurance without telling him". Speaking to Teixeira, she later added: "It was very unfair to you. They shouldn’t have done that."
Pictured: Teixeira would have received a higher fine were it not for the insurance company's error, the Magistrate stated.
Nonetheless, she told him: "As the driver of vehicle it is your responsibility to make sure you are always insured. The Court will normally give a very high fine, or even community service, or even prison to somebody who isn’t insured depending on the circumstances."
Magistrate Shaw therefore decided to only impose a fine of £300. "It is your fault you didn’t notice your insurance had expired. You would have normally received a reminder but you didn't get it through no fault of your own," she said.
She also refused to impose a driving ban or endorse Teixeira's licence, but warned him that if he doesn't pay his fine, he will face a prison sentence.
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