Cambridgeshire

Fiona Onasanya: Peterborough MP appeals against conviction

Fiona Onasanya Image copyright PA
Image caption Fiona Onasanya was issued the speeding ticket a week after she was elected as MP

An MP has appealed against her conviction for perverting the course of justice after lying about who was driving a speeding car.

Fiona Onasanya was found guilty by an Old Bailey jury of lying about who was behind the wheel when her car was caught doing 41mph in a 30mph zone.

The 35-year-old Peterborough MP has applied to the Court of Appeal for permission to appeal her conviction.

No date has been set to hear the application.

It is not known on what grounds Ms Onasanya is applying to appeal.

The MP currently sits as an independent in Parliament, having been suspended by the Labour Party after her conviction.

Her brother Festus Onasanya, 33, previously admitted three counts of perverting the course of justice. The pair are due to be sentenced on 29 January.

Image copyright Crown Prosectution Service/PA
Image caption The MP's Nissan Micra was caught by a speed camera in Thorney

During her retrial, after a previous jury failed to reach a verdict, the court was told the MP's Nissan Micra car was caught near Peterborough just after 22:00 BST on 24 July 2017.

She received a Notice of Intended Prosecution (NIP) that required her to state whether she was driving the car at the time or to identify who was.

The authorities were told the family's former lodger Aleks Antipow had been behind the wheel, but inquiries revealed he had been in Russia visiting his family at the time.

Ms Onasanya's former communications manager Dr Christian DeFeo came forward to give evidence against her, after his wife forwarded him a local newspaper article about the case.

He said she had visited their house, a short distance from the speed camera in Thorney, on the evening of 24 July and had arrived and left alone.

The MP claimed in court her brother "would have had to be driving me" and added: "I don't use my phone when driving."

Image copyright PA
Image caption Festus Onasanya pleaded guilty to three counts of perverting the course of justice

Writing in her local newspaper after the conviction, Ms Onasanya said constituents should "rest assured" she will remain their MP.

If her appeal fails, and she is sentenced to more than a year imprisonment it will automatically trigger a by-election, even if the jail term is suspended,

If the MP is sentenced to less than a year that would trigger a recall petition, which means if 10% of all her constituents signed a petition there would be a by-election.

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