Race attack was invented in bid to dodge ticket

Harriet Lee, 16

St John’s College, Southsea, GCSE art exhibition

A man has been found guilty of making up a racial assault to get out of a parking ticket.

Ben Hlal told police he was attacked by traffic warden Andrew Lynch after parking on yellow lines near Asda in Fareham.

The 45-year-old even got his partner at the time, Diane Bateman, to back up his story, in the hope Fareham Borough Council would drop his parking fine.

But the police became suspicious of Hlal's version of events when he complained about the pace of their inquiry and shouted at staff.

When detectives investigated further they found Hlal had been at the centre of a similar incident the year before.

Inspector Dean Gower, who led the investigation, said: 'The further the investigation went on the more suspicious we were of what Mr Hlal said and what his motives were.

'Mr Hlal had told lies about what happened on both occasions and had falsely accused these people of being motivated by racial prejudice against him.

'He had been trying to play the police for fools.'

Traffic warden Mr Lynch was arrested and suspended from his job for five weeks after Hlal said he had grabbed him round the throat and shouted racist abuse in November 2009.

In a separate incident the father-of-three, who is originally from Tunisia, accused a doctor of racially abusing him after he parked in a disabled bay.

Dr Neil Buchanon had questioned whether Hlal should be in the bay at the Royal County Hospital, Winchester.

But the hospital consultant found himself arrested because of Hlal's false claims in September 2008.

Dr Buchanon, who was eventually released without charge, told Portsmouth Crown Court he had found the whole experience very upsetting. Giving evidence Hlal insisted everything he told the police was '100 per cent accurate'.

Inspector Gower said: 'We are pleased with the guilty verdicts because it is public vindication of Mr Lynch and Dr Buchanon's integrity.

'This has been an ordeal for both of them.'

He added: 'If you make false allegations and you're found out then you could find yourself in court.

'It's very important people tell the truth about these incidents.'

Hlal, of Knowle Avenue, Knowle Village, was found guilty of two charges of perverting the court of justice.

His estranged wife, Bateman, 52, of The Curve, Gosport, was found guilty of one charge of perverting the course of justice. They were released on bail to be sentenced at Portsmouth Crown Court next month.

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