Northern Ireland’s Environment Minister escapes with paltry fine for riding illegally
Posted on October 20, 2008 by Number Plates
Wilson was caught by a camera detection unit on the Newtownards Road in east Belfast. He claimed that he had been taking the bike to a garage for a pre-MOT service and that the bike was now licensed.
The Department of the Environment said the case had been dealt with using standard enforcement procedures.
Mr Wilson, the DUP’s East Antrim MP, owns five motorcycles, and said he thought it was permissible to ride a vehicle to a garage to have it serviced for an MOT test four days later.
Sammy Wilson DUP with one of his motorcycles. Sammy was recently prosecuted for riding a motorcycle without road tax.
“I am not denying the bike was on the road. I hope you’re not going to do a hatchet job on me.
“I remember passing the camera at the time and never thought anything about it to tell you the truth.
“I have another bike which has not been on the road for five years, but I’m scared stiff to drive it in case I get stopped again for driving without an MoT.
“The insurance covered me and there would have been more of an issue if I had been driving it, if it had failed the MoT.
“I wrote to the DVA about this. If I had been in Portrush or Enniskillen I could understand them asking me what I was doing there.
“But I gave them all the details about what I was doing driving to Belfast.”
He added: “I would be interested to know if they have exercised discretion in other examples because I’m sure I’m not the first person to be caught doing this.
“I suspect because I am the Roads Minister they abided by the letter of the law.
“This was not an oversight by me. I genuinely believed that it was perfectly legitimate for me to drive the bike to get it fixed for MoT.”
The Stormont Minister also believes current legislation on driving vehicles before they have been put through an MoT test should be reviewed. He added: “I’m very annoyed with the stupidity of the rules. You can drive a vehicle if it has failed the MoT but you can’t drive it to the garage before it goes through the test.
“The message here is for the small hard core of evaders who have no intention paying tax, we will take your car. No more warnings.”
Although the overall rate of motor tax evasion was down from 5.4% to 5% in Northern Ireland, we still have the highest amount of motor tax evaders in the UK.
Mr Wilson is not the first senior DUP man to be punished for not paying his road tax.
First Minister Peter Robinson was jailed in 1987 for failing to pay his tax in protest at the Anglo Irish Agreement
We believe Mr Wilson is being a little economical with the truth. The Law is black and white it states that if you are going to or from an MOT test, it is one exception for being on the road and not having a current MOT certificate. There is nothing very stupid about the rules and if we follow Mr Wilson’s example everytime we were stopped by the police we would simply say “oh we were going the garge to get the vehicle ready for MOT!, and there wouldn’t be too many vehicles MOT and taxed in Northern Ireland!” says Dessie Elton
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