A corrupt court official who helped more than 70 motorists to falsify their driving records and escape bans has been jailed for six years.
David Kelly, 47, committed a “gross breach of trust” in a betrayal of the criminal justice system, his colleagues and the general public, a judge said today. Debt-ridden Kelly operated the scam from his workplace in the administration department at Liverpool Magistrates’ Court.
He assisted 71 drivers in removing details of convictions, disqualifications and penalty points on 110 occasions between 2004 and 2010.
Preston Crown Court heard that drivers would pass cash to “middle men” who had contacts within the Liverpool underworld and their details would be handed to Kelly, pictured. The defendant then sent forms from the court to the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA) to request the alterations.
Sentencing him, Judge Graham Knowles QC said: “Liverpool City Magistrates’ ran like every other magistrates’ court.
“The magistrates, the clerks and the office staff dealt with penalty points, so did the staff of the Central Ticketing Office. Civil servants in Swansea [at the DVLA] kept the drivers’ records.
“But unknown to all of these decent people, you, Kelly, were running a corrupt business at the court, bypassing justice after everyone thought it had been done.”
It is understood that most of the corrupt payments from members of the public were made in pubs across Liverpool, with £100 thought to be the going rate for erasing one penalty point. DVLA officers in Swansea first became suspicious of Kelly in September 2008 when he faxed a number of bogus forms, said the Crown. But Kelly, of Southern Crescent, Toxteth, 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.
On Thursday a jury found him guilty of conspiracy to pervert the court of justice. Judge Knowles told him: “You perverted justice systematically and cunningly. You acted in gross breach of trust. You betrayed justice, the public, the magistrates and your decent, hard-working colleagues who like court staff everywhere are proud to play their part in justice.”
Three of his “customers” were in the dock with him and were convicted of perverting the course of justice.
Mark Camello, 33, of Toxteth, was jailed for 14 months, while Samantha Evans, 25, of West Derby, and Shaun Robinson, 24, of Toxteth, were each jailed for 12 months. Judge Knowles told them: “You thought you could buy off justice with corruption. That strikes at the heart of the system and makes a mockery of justice.” Kelly had worked at the court for 20 years.
All four defendants had denied the charges. A number of people involved in the scam have already been jailed.