Asil Ashar, 48 (pictured outside court in Manchester) tried to avoid a driving ban by saying it is ‘too dangerous’ for him to take the bus in his line of work
A wealthy businessman tried to dodge a road ban by claiming it is ‘too dangerous’ for him to get the bus to work.
Asil Ashar, 48, was given three points on his driving licence for speeding in November 2017 and another six for being on his phone in the car in December.
Police stopped him on April 20 this year after spotting him on the phone at the wheel of his Land Rover Defender with a personalised number plate.
Facing a driving ban in court, Ashar, who lives in a £775,000 house in Hale, Greater Manchester, pleaded with judges saying it would not be safe for him to deliver second-hand Rolex watches and other expensive goods using public transport.
Ashar, whose company Entertainment Trader turns over £840,000 a year, said he could not afford a chauffeur and the ban would cause him ‘exceptional hardship’.
But Justices of the Peace were not convinced by his argument and banned him from driving for six months.
Manchester Magistrates Court heard the father-of-three runs a second-hand goods store and has to deliver and collect expensive items including Rolex watches.
He said: ‘We have a dedicated website just to the watches. I employ someone to keep the website high on Google, it’s the first one to come up on Google. We work nationwide.
‘Next week I’ve got to collect two watches in Swansea, one of them is £5,000 the other is £8,000. We keep these watches safe in a safety deposit warehouse.
Ashar (pictured outside Manchester Magistrates Court) whose company Entertainment Trader turns over £840,000 a year, said he could not afford a chauffeur and the ban would cause him ‘exceptional hardship’
‘We’ve got a shop so when somebody wants to buy one, they can come and collect. I employ five people but it’s too dangerous for me to ask them to go out and collect the watches.
‘If they removed my driving licence I wouldn’t be able to collect these watches, I would lose business and I would lose my employees.
‘It can be dangerous, we deal with a lot of watches. I couldn’t afford to hire a driver, for example, as I’m going to Swansea for two days to pick up those watches, I couldn’t afford to pay for a driver whilst I was there as I would expect them to stay overnight.
‘So there are financial and safety reasons for why I should be driving. The net profit of £100,000 is not consistent every year.
‘I have one person in charge of the Google stuff. I have one photographer who takes a lot of good pictures of the watches and I have two people who work in sales.
‘I have not found myself in the position of danger whilst collecting or delivering.
‘You have to be very careful about picking up and delivering watches. There are not a lot of instances of danger.
‘Most of the time I work out of hours at the convenience of the customer. I pick up the watches between three and four times a week, it depends how active the website is.
‘My shop is on High Street in the City centre. We do delivery through the post, or if it is a local delivery I deliver in person.
‘There is an issue with counterfeit items at the moment, they are getting better and better, I am able to identify a fake watch from a real one.’
Jeremy Spencer, defending Ashar, said: ‘The court must take into account the fact that others may suffer and that can be a reasonable grounds for exceptional hardship.
‘Mr Ashar owns a business called ‘Entertainment Trader Limited’. He has owned this since April 2010.
‘The turnover from the current financial year is £840,000 with a net profit of £100,000. He has five staff who all work in the shop, none of which whom drive.
Justices of the Peace at Manchester Magistrates Court (pictured) refused to accept Ashar’s argument and banned him from driving for six months
‘Mr Ashar’s business deals with high value wrist watches and the items of high value. This is not delegated to the staff.
‘They do not drive for reasons of safety. He collects and delivers the watches and it is not feasible for the others to do so as it is dangerous. It would not be feasible to use public transport as it would be dangerous.
‘There is a considerable risk of robbery. He drives to a secure warehouse, which is a part of the business.
‘He collects the watches and transfers them to the warehouses. Last week he went to Castleford to pick up a Rolex watch to the sum of £2,000. He went at approximately 9.30pm.
‘Mr Ashar is married and has three dependant children. He takes out £1,800 per month.
‘If he were to be disqualified from driving, his employees would be at risk. The business could not function without his driving licence.
‘He collects the watches as he is the only one that drives and he works unsociable hours.
‘He is treading a tightrope as he will not be able to ask for exceptional hardship again for the next three years.’
But chair of the magistrates Ian Scott-Dunn told Ashar: ‘We realise not having your licence would be inconvenient both to your business and employees and you.
‘But, we believe you can arrange other ways of collecting and delivering the watches which you buy and sell.
‘We do not consider this would be exceptional hardship and we reject your application.’
Ashar was also fined £300 and ordered to pay £120 in costs and surcharges. It is believed he may appeal the magistrates’ ruling.