Newcastle’s Cheik Tiote gets six-month driving ban



NEWCASTLE United footballer Cheik Tiote was today banned from driving for six months - weeks after a court forgot to ban him.

The 27-year-old Ivory Coast international should have been given the road ban when he was given a suspended prison term in October over a driving licence scam.

But a prosecution oversight meant the player was not told to keep off the roads, despite having clocked up 12 points on his provisional licence.

The star was back in the dock today, where prosecutor Tony Hawks told the court: “It is my fault the case has to come back.

“I failed to appreciate a matter in relation to the defendant’s disqualification from driving.”

The court heard Tiote was given six points at the sentencing hearing in October, which, together with the six he already had on his provisional licence, meant mandatory disqualification.

Robert Adams, defending, said he could not see any grounds, such as “exceptional hardship” to oppose the disqualification.

Judge James Goss QC said: “He can afford a driver if he wants to be driven around.”

The judge banned Tiote from the roads for six months but said it will be up to the licencing authorities whether the ban starts from today or when the original sentence was passed.

Judge Goss told Tiote: “I should have done this when I sentenced you before, according to the law I must disqualify you from holding or obtaining a driving licence, therefore from driving, for a period of six months.”

Tiote walked free from court on October 28 after he pleaded guilty to a driving scam in which he paid 15,000 Euros in cash for a fake Belgian driving licence.

The star used the fake driving licence in a bid to obtain a UK licence because he didn’t want to go through the ‘laborious process’ of passing a test.

The midfielder was sentenced to seven months imprisonment suspended for 18 months and ordered to undertake 180 hours of unpaid work.

The court heard the premiership star sent the fraudulent Belgian licence to the DVLA in an attempt to obtain a UK licence.

Tiote had admitted showing the licence, described as a ‘very good forgery’, to the police who had not spotted it was fake on previous occasions, the court was told.

Judge James Goss QC told him at the time: “You are now 27-years of age, a family man and have been blessed with a considerable talent that enables you to earn a large amount of money.

“No person in this country whatever their position their means or circumstances is above the law.”

Prosecuting barrister Tony Hawks said during the original sentence hearing: “The offence is aggravated by the fact the defendant sought to change base metal into gold, as it were, by sending it to Swansea in the hope he would

be issued with a UK licence.”

In Tiote’s defence, Mr Adams said that the footballer committed the crime ‘out of laziness, rather than going through the laborious process of sitting a test’.

He added that a tailored programme of community service helping deprived youngsters in Newcastle would be beneficial, and cited Eric Cantona as an example.

Tiote’s car, a Chevrolet Camaro estimated to be worth about £75,000, was seized by Northumbria Police at the time of his arrest in February.

Tiote, of Lindisfarne Close, Jesmond, Newcastle, was charged with possessing an identity document with improper intention.

The prosecution offered no evidence on a charge of making a false statement to obtain insurance and a formal verdict of not guilty was reached.

A further charge of fraud was left to lie on file.

The charges date between September 2011 and December 2012.

The footballer pleaded not guilty to a charge of driving with no insurance on February 12 , an offence which will be dealt with by magistrates.

He also pleaded guilty to driving a motor vehicle otherwise than in accordance with a licence on February 12.

On top of the community service and suspended sentence Tiote was given a £600 fine, six points on his licence, and was ordered to pay £3,795 in prosecution costs and a victim surcharge of £100.


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