Case against South Shields car salesman dropped after evidence at trial
A South Tyneside car salesman has walked free from court after prosecutors dropped their case against him over charges he had committed a number of fraud and illegal trading violations.
Shaun Morris, 31, of Masefield Drive, South Shields, was said to be the owner of a car sales business that sold two dodgy motors - including one write-off - to two unsuspecting buyers in late 2018.
At South Tyneside Magistrates’ Court, it was also alleged he had failed to confirm the enterprise was his so as to pocket cash should the owners seek to reclaim their money.
Other allegations faced by Mr Morris, who denied all 12 charges when he appeared in court, included committing fraud by giving the name of a non-existent owner and business address to council trading standards chiefs when investigated.
In a prosecution brought by South Tyneside Council, it was alleged he owned and ran Westoe Car Sales, in Robinson Street, South Shields.
But his expected two-day trial collapsed towards the end of day one when an investigating Sunderland City Council officer admitted under oath he could not be sure Mr Morris was the owner.
Although it was not denied Mr Morris sold vehicles for Westoe Car Sales, the court was told another man was now being investigated over related matters."
Mr Morris faced four charges each of failing without reasonable excuse to comply with disclosure requirements about the owner of the business and dishonestly failing to disclose information to make a gain for himself or to expose another to a loss.
He was also accused of two charges of being a trader engaged in commercial practice which is a misleading action containing false information, and one each of supplying an unroadworthy vehicle and fraud by false representation under the Fraud Act 2006.
Giving evidence, witness Anna Kadzura said she bought a 2005-plate Peugeot for £599 from Mr Morris on September 21, 2018, after seeing it for sale on website Gumtree.
She told the court that within a week there were issues with its brake pads, tyres and that it veered to the left while she drove on a motorway.
Ms Kadzura said she was so concerned she had to slow to 40mph because she didn’t feel safe and took the car to another garage, which warned her it was not safe to drive.
She said she went back to Westoe Car Sales on October 15 and spoke to Mr Morris, who said he was just in charge of sales and not responsible for the cars.
After writing letters to the garage and making several phone calls, he refunded her money and gave her an additional £100, telling her the car would be scrapped.
The court also heard Mr Morris sold a second Peugeot to Anika Zaman, on October 11, 2018, and that car later had to be scrapped due to defects.
Dismissing the charges, John Lee, chairman of the bench, told Mr Morris: “You are free to go.”