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Last Updated: Friday, 11 May 2007, 16:46 GMT 17:46 UK
Driving test cheats escape prison
A former manager of a driving theory test centre has escaped jail after admitting illegally assisting people to pass their tests.

Thomas O'Reilley, 67, and his son Stephen, 27, helped candidates at Derby's Mansfield Road theory test centre, the city's Crown Court heard.

The father was given 200 hours community service and his son received an eight-month suspended jail sentence.

Both admitted attempting to obtaining property by deception.

Mike Auty, prosecuting, told the court that the pair, from Merridale Road, Littleover, Derbys, helped members of the travelling community take the tests, breaking strict Driving Standards Agency rules.

As manager of the test centre Thomas O'Reilley, who is also a retired teacher and former priest, assisted two people by taking control of the computer test and helping them answer questions.

But his son made thousands of pounds by helping 12 people - many of whom were travellers - take the test, supplying answers and taking over the computer controls for them.

Caught on CCTV

He profited by charging between 20 and 100 for his help, Mr Auty said, although there was no evidence his father had profited financially.

The pair were caught on CCTV and through covert recording equipment installed when other staff became suspicious, the court heard.

"The tests were, in essence, being taken for the candidates," Mr Auty added.

Dominic Shelley, defending Thomas O'Reilley, said the pensioner was driven to help the candidates out of a sense of duty.

"Both his former professions were caring and mentoring roles and that is something he prides himself on," he said.

"(The offences) were born out of a very real and genuine desire to help people."

Avik Mukherjee, for Stephen O'Reilley, said the younger man was driven purely by greed but was not the instigator of the deception.

"There are others culpable ... but he is the only one left facing the wrath of the court."


VIDEO AND AUDIO NEWS
Thomas O'Reilley speaks after the court case



SEE ALSO
Driving test workers faked passes
05 Apr 07 |  Derbyshire

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