A motorist who falsely claimed that a civil enforcement officer (CEO) racially abused him in order to avoid paying a penalty charge notice has been jailed for 12 months.
Ben Hlal, 45, was found guilty in January of perverting the course of justice after the incidents in Fareham, Hampshire in 2009. His estranged wife, Diane Bateman was given a six-month suspended sentence for the same charge. Her offence was to give a police statement supporting Hlal’s accusation. In addition Bateman was fined £500 and ordered to carry out 100 hours of unpaid community work. Originally from Tunisia, Hlal further claimed that a doctor outside a hospital in the city had racially abused him.
Hlal’s original offence in November 2009 was that he had parked on double yellow lines. Portsmouth Crown Court heard that CEO Andrew Lynch had warned Hlal that he was illegally parked and would be issued with a penalty charge notice if he did not move on.
When the CEO returned to the vehicle Hlal claimed to another officer that Lynch racially abused and assaulted him.
The CEO was arrested, questioned by police and suspended from his lob at Fareham Borough Council. He returned to work five weeks later when Hampshire Police ruled that there was no case to answer.
The jury also heard that consultant doctor Neil Buchanan had approached Hlal when he had parked in a disabled bay without a blue badge outside the Royal Hampshire County Hospital in Winchester.Hlal falsely accused Dr Buchanan of racially abusing him, leading to his arrest and and questioning by police.
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