Fri, 22 Sept 2017
A LAMBOURN man pleaded with a court not to ban him from driving, claiming he supplies vital counter-terrorism technology to the UK government.
Joseph Amodio said his work was so sensitive that he could not discuss it in open court, but argued that a driving ban for motoring offences, including having no insurance, would result in him losing his job.
However, a district judge sitting at Reading Magistrates’ Court expressed concern at Mr Amodio’s fitness for such work, given his undisclosed previous convictions for dishonesty.
The 60-year-old, who lives at Edwards Hill, Lambourn, admitted two offences of driving a BMW X4 without insurance – once in Charnham Street in Hungerford on December 19 last year and again at Hungerford Hill, Lambourn, on Christmas Day.
Under the points-totting procedure, that would usually incur a driving ban, but Mr Amodio sought to avoid that by citing ‘exceptional hardship’ mitigation.
He told the court: “I supply counter-terrorism technology to governments, including the UK government. I can’t go into detail for obvious reasons.
“And I have to ferry foreign visitors around. You cannot get an office job doing what I do.”
However, he admitted that he had not brought any proof of such employment with him.
Father-of-two Mr Amodio said he had only recently regained employment and a new house, having lost his previous home and job when his former employers closed an international division.
But district judge Shomond Khan interrupted him, pointing out that Mr Amodio has previous convictions for offences of dishonesty – specifically, making off without paying for fuel on two occasions – and asked whether his bosses knew about them.
Mr Amodio conceded that they did not, but added that he had never been asked to disclose them.
Regarding the two insurance offences, he told the court he had had a row with his broker and, in a temper, had “told them where they could put their insurance”.
When the direct debit payments continued, however, Mr Amodio said he had wrongly assumed his policy was still in force.
Judge Khan said: “Unfortunately some of the things you have said are difficult to take at face value.
“It’s very disappointing you haven’t brought any evidence with you. And it’s very concerning that you haven’t made disclosure to your employers [of the dishonesty convictions].”
He concluded: “This is a hearing about whether there are exceptional hardship circumstances.
“You’re a ‘totter’ by a significant margin and I’m afraid that losing your job and possibly even your home is not considered exceptional hardship – a driving ban is meant to have an impact and to be punitive.
“And I’m a little bit troubled, with respect, about the nature of your employment and whether it’s right, under all the circumstances, that you should have such employment in any event. But that’s not a matter for me.”
Mr Amodio was banned from driving for six months.