Blue Badge inspectors - go ahead, make their day
The Solicitors Disciplinary Tribunal has struck off a solicitor for using a family member's 'Blue Badge' to shave a bit of time off his walk to work.
Wahid Nazari worked in the Sussex office of personal injury firm Carpenters at the time. He was also the primary carer for a relative, Person A, who had a legitimate Blue Badge, which is reserved for use by a disabled person.
Nazari was convicted at Lewes Crown Court in 2019 for dishonest use of the Blue Badge, and was fined £1,500 and ordered to pay costs of £6,000 after he was deemed to have used the badge for his own purpose on "at least eight" occasions between June and August 2018.
On one occasion, Nazari dropped off his relative, drove to work, and parked on a single yellow line near to the office. Inspectors spotted Nazari's car was parked in a restricted area, with the Blue Badge displayed on the dashboard.
The solicitor told the inspectors that he intended to collect his relative from the nearby train station and take them to Brighton after he finished work. When the inspectors ascertained that the relative was some distance away, they confiscated the Blue Badge.
“For the sake of not moving your car, or not parking it up at the free space and walking down, you have got yourself into this mess," said the judge at Nazari's Crown Court trial. But the judge also noted that Nazari deserved "credit" for being the primary carer for Person A.
In his appearance before the Solicitors Disciplinary Tribunal, Nazari said he had "an honest belief that he was entitled to park" in the restricted area, and stated that he'd made an "honest mistake". He also argued that the offence was unrelated to his professional work. He denied dishonesty, and asked the tribunal to view his personal circumstances and also the judge's comments as "exceptional circumstances".
However, the SDT said that Nazari had acted dishonestly, and did not find the circumstances to be exceptional "unfortunate though they were," and struck Nazari off the roll.
A spokeswoman for Carpenters Group said, “This matter did not relate to his employment with Carpenters Group and he has not been employed since 2018”.
It is the second time in recent months that the SDT has dealt with a solicitor misusing a Blue Badge.
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