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Man fined for giving false information after car crash

A man who falsely claimed to be the driver of a car that crashed last December was fined $1,000 in Magistrates’ Court.

Christopher Wardman, 24, of Paget admitted attempting to pervert the cause of justice, following an accident in which a close friend was injured.

Crown counsel Susan Mulligan said police attended a road traffic collision in the early hours of December 27, at the junction of Manse Road and Harbour Road in Paget.

They found Wardman with another man his brother next to an extensively damaged white Mitsubishi Spacewagon

Ms Mulligan told Magistrate Khamisi Tokunbo that a male passenger was in the rear seat of the vehicle, his head covered in blood.

Police noticed a strong scent of alcohol on Wardman’s breath.

Wardman, a manager at Coral Beach Hotel, initially told police he was the driver, but asked if he could change his story after he was arrested.

The court heard that when asked again who had driven the vehicle, Wardman told police: “It was my brother, John. I was just trying to protect him.”

The injured passenger, Alex Doyle, had received an “extensive brain injury”, Ms Mulligan said.

Asking for a short custodial sentence, Ms Mulligan told the court that Wardman had only thought better of lying to police after officers noticed the smell of alcohol.

Wardman’s lawyer, Mark Pettingill, said his client and Mr Doyle were “lifelong friends” and that the crash had haunted him.

Wardman quickly recanted his story to police, Mr Pettingill added.

Mr Tokunbo said that giving false information to police has become “part of our culture and it’s one that’s pretty prevalent in the sense of avoiding being arrested”.

He added: “It causes horror and havoc to people who are arrested.”

However, he continued: “This is a case of attempting to pervert the course of justice, but an attempt by claiming to be the guilty party, rather than dumping someone else in hot water as most often happens.”

Mr Tokunbo fined Wardman $1,000.

Christopher Wardman leaves Magistrates? Court Wednesday. He claimed to be the driver of a car involved in an accident on Harbour Road that caused severe head trauma to a passenger. ( Photo by Glenn Tucker )

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Published September 10, 2011 at 8:34 am (Updated September 10, 2011 at 8:34 am)

Man fined for giving false information after car crash

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