Hampshire & Isle of Wight

Man who made false traffic warden slur jailed

Double yellow lines outside Asda store
Image caption Hlal had parked on double yellow lines near the Asda supermarket in Fareham

A man who falsely claimed a traffic warden racially abused and attacked him to avoid paying for a parking ticket has been jailed for 12 months.

Ben Hlal, 45, was found guilty in January of two counts of perverting the course of justice after the incident in Fareham, Hampshire, in 2009.

He was sentenced at Portsmouth Crown Court earlier.

His estranged wife, Diane Bateman, received a six-month suspended sentence for the same charge.

Warden suspended

Bateman was also handed a £500 fine and ordered to carry out 100 hours of unpaid work.

Hlal had parked on double yellow lines when he was caught by a civic enforcement officer (CEO).

The 45-year-old, originally from Tunisia, also claimed a doctor had racially abused him outside a hospital.

Portsmouth Crown Court heard traffic warden Andrew Lynch warned Hlal in November 2009 that he was parked illegally and a ticket would be issued if he did not move on.

But by the time Mr Lynch returned to the vehicle, Hlal had claimed to another officer he had been racially abused and assaulted by Mr Lynch.

Disabled bay

The traffic warden was arrested and questioned by police for three hours and suspended from his job at Fareham Borough Council.

He was allowed back to work more than five weeks later when police decided there was no case to answer.

Hlal's estranged wife, Bateman, 52, originally from West Bromwich but who lives in Gosport, was also found guilty of perverting the course of justice.

Her offence was to give a police statement supporting Hlal's accusation.

The jury previously heard that consultant doctor Neil Buchanan had approached Hlal when he had parked in a disabled bay without a blue badge outside the Royal Hampshire County Hospital in Winchester.

Hlal went on to falsely accuse Dr Buchanan of racially assaulting him, leading to him also being arrested and questioned by police.

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