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Motorist 'framed' friend

First Edition

A motorist who gave a friend's details to police when he was stopped twice in one night started a legal nightmare for an innocent man, an Old Bailey court was told yesterday.

The friend, Colin Russell, a car mechanic, is still fighting to clear his name after two years.

Mr Russell was convicted and fined for not producing driving documents two years ago, in spite of protesting that he was not the man the police had stopped. His later appeal was dismissed.

But he did not give up and went to the police where, by chance, he spoke to the officer who had stopped the real driver - his friend Matthew Franklin, who was then arrested for perverting the course of justice.

Yesterday, Franklin, 23, of New City Road, Stratford, east London, admitted the charge and was jailed for three months. But Mr Russell is still awaiting a full pardon from the Home Secretary and has to appear regularly before magistrates to explain why he is not paying a fine for an offence he did not commit.

Franklin's counsel, Michael Conning, told the court his client never imagined, when he gave a false name, that the consequences would be so grave. The court was told that the two men remained friends.