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Man did not know ‘e-scooter’ required a license and insurance

A 39-year-old man who had been using an ‘e-scooter’ while disqualified from driving did not realize insurance and a license was required to operate one, a court has heard.

Bassam Diwana, of Highfield Road, Magherafelt, appeared at Magherafelt Magistrates Court on Wednesday for sentencing on a number of motoring matters.

Guilty pleas had been entered to charges of having no tax, an incorrect registration mark, no vehicle test certificate, not wearing a helmet, having no insurance and driving while disqualified.

The court heard the defendant had been stopped by police on Queen Street, Magherafelt on September 14 2021 while using an ‘e-scooter’.

CCTV footage was also obtained showing the defendant using the vehicle, and checks revealed he was disqualified from driving and subject to a suspended sentence at the time of the incident.

The defendant admitted he should have been wearing a helmet while operating the vehicle, but said he was unaware of his obligations around tax, insurance and licensing regarding the ‘e-scooter’.

Defense for Diwana said the case had raised a number of questions around the use of ‘e-scooters’ and ‘e-bikes’.

The defendant had bought the vehicle from a private seller, and counsel referred to the advertisement to which he had responded.

The advertisement had indicated there was ‘no need’ for tax, insurance, test certificate or license with the vehicle, and had included a link to a NI Direct website section on e-bikes.

However, the link informed readers that only e-bikes without pedals did not require documentation, whereas the defendant’s vehicle did not have pedals.

Counsel said the defendant had ‘virtually no English’ and had relied on the advertisement for his information.

They urged the judge not to impose a custodial sentence and not to ‘set this man up for a fail’.

Judge McSorley issued fines totaling £200 on the first four charges. On the final two charges, she disqualified Diwana for a period of six months and imposed 80 hours of community service.

A £15 offender’s levy was also imposed.

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