Brothers jailed for driving theory test scam

Two brothers who admitted their involvement in trying to fraudulently sit the driving theory test have been jailed at Londonderry Crown Court.

Terence Stokes, aged 24, from Glenvale Gardens, was jailed for nine months.

His 28-year-old brother, Michael Stokes, from Chapel Road, received a six-month sentence.

In the first prosecution of its kind in Northern Ireland, Terence Stokes admitted conspiring with his brother to sit the theory test on his behalf.

Michael Stokes pleaded guilty to aiding and abetting his brother, Terence, to impersonate him at the theory test. The offences happened between August 3 and 26, 2009.

Terence Stokes's barrister, Neil Rafferty, told Judge Piers Grant that what inspired the offences were Michael Stokes's literacy problems.

The irony was, he said, that people with literacy problems were catered for while sitting their theory test.

He said Michael Stokes actually sat the theory test six months later and passed.

Mr Rafferty said his client, Terence Stokes, didn't get to sit the test on his brother's behalf but instead walked out of the test centre minutes after applying to sit it.

Eoghan Devlin, Defence Counsel for Michael Stokes, said it was a "hair-brained" scheme hatched by two brothers in a bid to gain a licence by a short-cut.

He described the attempt as "a fool's errand".

Jailing the brothers, Judge Grant said the offences were so serious they merited custodial sentences.

He said the brother's actions were premeditated and pre-planned and, if they had succeeded, it would have seriously undermined public confidence in the licensing system.

He said the regulations were there to safeguard the motoring public.

Judge grant said both brothers had extensive criminal records for dishonesty and motoring offences, and it was appropriate and necessary to mark the seriousness of their offending by sending them to jail.