Bungling father and son caught trying to swap penalty points
A father and son caught on police CCTV attempting to swap penalty points have been freed on suspended jail terms for attempting to pervert the course of public justice.
Belfast Crown Court heard that both Francis Murphy jnr and snr fled Tennent Street PSNI station after police there challenged Murphy snr's (59) attempts to pay a fixed £60 fine and claim a three-penalty point endorsement on his licence meant for his son.
Prosecutor Simon Jenkins said that Murphy jnr (31) had been stopped on Belfast's Malone Road and given the fixed penalty for driving at 46mph in a 30mph zone.
He was ordered to report to Lisburn Road PSNI station to pay the fine and have his driving licence endorsed.
Mr Jenkins said Murphy jnr went instead to his local north Belfast PSNI station along with his father.
But both left when challenged over the age of the driver on the fixed penalty notice.
Although caught on CCTV, Murphy jnr claimed not to remember the incident, while his father claimed that he had gone to the station with a friend. Solicitor advocate Stephen Keown for Murphy jnr, said while it was "deliberate, it was naive", the father of two, had since shown clear remorse and accepted responsibility for encouraging his father to get involved.
Mr Keown said that unlike similar cases, theirs had only been an attempt to pervert justice, which had been easy to detect.
Barrister Neil Fox, for Murphy snr, said that one could not image a more amateurish enterprise, with both father and son going to a police station together.
Mr Fox said that Murphy stood to gain nothing, and was "just trying to protect his son".
Judge Geoffrey Miller said while they were caught on CCTV and their efforts were so inept and amateurish they were bound to be caught, their incompetence could not lessen the seriousness of their crime, and no one should be in any doubt of that.
Francis Murphy snr, of Cliftonville Road, described by Judge Miller, as the patsy, was given a four-month sentence which was suspended for two years along with the five-month sentence given to his son from Sunnyside Street, who, said the judge, prevailed upon his father to take his points.