MOTHER BLAMED FASTING FOR USING MOBILE PHONE WHILE DRIVING

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32 -year-old Lina khatib was caught using her mobile phone while driving while her 2-year old son was in the back,her excuse was she was ‘in a panic because she was fasting for Ramadan’.

She was pulled over by police in an unmarked car, she recieved a £90 fine and 6 points on her license.

Mrs Khatib pleaded at a court not to give her points as it was Ramadhan and she was fasting at the time of incident.

She added she was also scared as her 2 year old son in the back seat had taken his seat belt off.

She said she was planning to pull over to a side and the reason she was using her mobile phone was to find directions to Altrincham where she was heading to do some shopping for the upcoming Eid.

Mrs Khatib pleaded guilty to using a mobile phone while driving but argued she should be excused from six points on her license for ‘special reasons’.

Her excuses were all rejected by JPs who gave her six penalty points and fined her £90 with £115 in costs and surcharges.

The incident happened at 9:20 am on June 22, just two days before Eid where Mrs Khatib was seen using her mobile phone while driving her Toyota Yaris on Shaftsbury Avenue in Timperly.

Traffic officer PC Sailesh Patel told the hearing: “I saw her drive across the front of my vehicle and I saw a young child stood up in the rear of the vehicle. The child was not wearing a seatbelt.”

“I followed the vehicle to the junction. I was behind the vehicle, there were no vehicles between us. I stopped next to the passenger door at the junction. The defendant stopped in lane two and I stopped in lane one. At this point I looked through the driver’s window to see the driver pick a mobile phone up and started pressing it with her right hand with her thumb on the screen.”

“I attracted her attention and showed her I was from the police and I asked her to pull into the lay-by. The conversation was that I witnessed her with the phone and that there was a child with no seatbelt on.”

“She said her child kept getting out by himself and she just picked her phone up to check it. She didn’t mention anything about checking her sat nav and didn’t mention anything about pulling over.”

Prosecuting, Marion Nolan, said: “The main concern should have been for other people. She should have pulled over and not reached for her phone and dealt with the child.”

But speaking through an interpreter, Khatib told the magistrates: “I had my son in the back car seat and had another child in the car, my daughter.”

“My son was two years old and my daughter was 11 months – she was asleep. My son had undone his seatbelt. At some point he stood up and moved the seatbelt. I was telling him to stop and get to the back.”

“I was very scared, I was very panicked, I feared for my son at the time. I decided to pick up my phone to hear the voice clearly and to hear what to do and put up the volume.”

“I opened the sat nav to see where I was going. I intended to stop so I was able to fasten his seatbelt but because I’m not familiar with the streets and the area I was panicking.”

“My son was nagging and I was not able to concentrate. The only time I picked up my phone was when I was stationary at the lights. I intended to find somewhere to pull over to put the seatbelt on because of his safety.”

“For all those reasons I have a special reason. I remember telling the officer that I was using the phone for sat nav purposes. I told him three times maybe two. At the time I was very panicked and anxious. I did lock the doors of the car at the time because of my son.”

“I was in the area because it was Ramadan and we fast up to 18 hours – we don’t usually go out but because Eid was near I went out to buy clothes. I was going to Altrincham and I’m not familiar with that.”

“I had been to the area about three or four times. I use the navigation and this helps me go where I need to go. I usually use my phone holder in my car however this day I didn’t have it and that’s why I picked it up with my hand.”

“When my son was taking his seatbelt off I intended to go down a side road to calm him down. I don’t feel safe going to a side road, my driving is not very good.”

“I was telling you my son was screaming at the time I was not able to do anything in the position I was in. I panicked and my hands were shaking.”

But rejecting her argument chairman of the magistrates, Ms Kasra Akbar, told Mrs Kahtib: “You put yourself, your child and other people in danger. You know the law.”