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Last Updated: Tuesday, 26 July 2005, 18:20 GMT 19:20 UK
Court criticises driver's Asbo
A motorist, jailed for breaching an anti-social behaviour order (Asbo) that stopped him driving, has had his sentence cut on appeal.

With more than 50 convictions for driving while disqualified, Clifton Morrison, from Moseley, was jailed for 12 months at Birmingham Crown Court.

Morrison admitted breaching the Asbo.

But judges ruled it "wrong in principle" to use an Asbo to impose a longer sentence than the six-month maximum penalty allowed under the law.

'Taking advantage'

Mr Justice Hughes said while it could be argued this maximum penalty for driving while disqualified was set low, it was up to Parliament - not the Court - to set the figure.

He said it was not open to courts to evade the maximum six months by imposing an Asbo and then taking advantage of the maximum five-year term when it was breached.

He said there was no challenge to the Asbo itself.

But he noted Asbos could only be made after it was found the behaviour complained of caused harassment, alarm or distress to people other than the offender's family.

While observing driving while disqualified was rightly an offence, he said it was not one that would usually cause these problems.

'Worst' record

He concluded Asbos should not be simply for the purpose of increasing the available sentence beyond the maximum available for the actual offence.

Referring to Morrison, 46, he said he had a driving record "as bad as the courts see" at least in the offence of persistently driving dangerously.

As well as having been convicted of driving while disqualified on more than 50 different occasions, along with more serious driving offences.

The court cut Morrison's 12-month Asbo breach sentence to four months but also revoked the community order and imposed a further four months for the offence that led to the order.

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