FAILED MY DRIVING TEST? WILL A WAD OF NOTES DO?

A learner driver who tried to bribe her examiner with a wad of notes after failing her test for the fifth time was given two years to pay a £500 fine.

Housewife Drita Gjergji, 33, had taken more than 200 lessons when she offered Leonard Darroux the cash from her handbag.

Unfortunately for Gjergji, Mr Darroux was a magistrate and he immediately reported the mother of two to his bosses at the test centre in Wanstead, east London.

Gjergji denied offering the bribe and claimed Mr Darroux had chatted her up during her test.

But a jury at Snaresbrook Crown Court convicted her of corruptly offering a gift or consideration.

Gjergji has since passed her test and splashed out on a Mercedes.

Mr Darroux had failed Gjergji at the Hermon Hill-based centre after she made a string of major errors on October 1 2008.

Driving Standards Agency examiner Mr Darroux said: ‘I failed her and she brought her bag forward from the back seat.

‘She showed me the money in her hand.

‘She urged me to take the money.

‘As I was getting out of the car she touched my arm – she was desperate.’

Jurors heard Gjergji had shelled out more than £4,000 on lessons over a two and a half-year period prior to the test.

Gjergji told the court she passed in January last year and now boasts a full licence, enabling her to ferry her children to school.

But she denied trying to bribe Mr Darroux.

Gjergji said she had £80 in her handbag but she never took the cash out as it was for her instructor Mohammed Riaz.

‘When I left the house, I put the money in my bag to pay Mr Riaz,’ she said.

‘My purse was not with me – I just put some money in the bag because I was in a hurry.

‘I always pay when I finish, when [Mr Riaz] brings me home.’

Kosovan Gjergji claimed Mr Darroux bombarded her with questions while she was sitting her test.

‘Do I have children, am I married,’ said Gjergji.

‘He asked me how did I come to England.

‘He asked me these questions, what I was doing later that evening.

‘This was a little bit unusual for me because I had never experienced these kind of questions before from an examiner, so I felt uncomfortable.’

Prosecutor Tristan Chaize had accused Gjergji of inventing the conversation between her and Mr Darroux.

‘You offered this man a bribe, didn’t you?’ said the barrister.

‘No,’ replied Gjergji.

‘Now you have suggested in a veiled way to this jury that he had some sexual motive that you never raised in interview,’ said Mr Chaize.

‘No, I didn’t say that he had a sexual motive or anything like that,’ she responded.

‘You’re saying that.’

Alan Walmsley, defending, said full-time mum Gjergji was currently learning English at the Forest Gate Learning Zone in east London two days a week while her husband was a part-time painter and decorator.

‘They are drawing benefits – tax credits and also housing benefit,’ said the barrister.

Mr Walmsley said Gjergji’s desperation to pass so that she could drive her children to school clouded her judgement.

‘The jury have found her guilty on the Crown’s case that this was not pre-planned in any way – she was emotionally distressed at the time of failing her test,’ he said.

Gjergji, of (5) Blenheim Road, Stratford, east London, was convicted of corruptly offering a gift or consideration.

Judge Timothy Lamb QC said Gjergji had acted out of desperation and fined her £500, ruling she did not deserve to go to prison.

‘I accept that the action which the jury have found that you took was not premeditated,’ he said.

‘It was spontaneous and born out of distress.

‘Nonetheless, what you did was serious – you attempted to corrupt a public officer.

‘I take full account of the fact that you have no previous convictions, I take full account of the fact that you are a young mother with two young children.

‘I take full account of the fact that your husband is only in part-time work.

‘I cannot ignore the fact however that a year ago you were able to assemble £4,000 in order to buy yourself a Mercedes car.’

Gjergji was given two years to pay the fine or serve 14 days behind bars.
ENDS

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