A FORMER student religious leader has been hauled into court for misusing a disabled friend’s blue badge.
Anaas Elshwiahad was caught using the badge while parked at Mercantile House by a city council parking enforcement officer.
Elshwiahad, former head of the Islamic Society at the University of Portsmouth Students’ Union, claimed he was meeting the wheelchair-user for prayers.
Portsmouth Magistrates’ Court heard the officer had called the badge-holder, who said he was at home and trusted Elshwiahad would not use it without him.
Later the officer saw the 57-year-old badge-holder turn up and go inside Mercantile House, only to emerge again 25 minutes later with Elshwiahad.
When approached by the Portsmouth City Council officer Elshwiahad said: ‘Well what does it matter I’m not with him, I’m with him right now.’
Elshwiahad. of Chewter Close, Southsea, said he had known the disabled man for 10 years and had helped him with day-to-day activities since 2014.
Elshwiahad said he’d been shopping with the man and had the badge on him, but planned to meet him later in the day for prayers.
Elshwiahad pleaded guilty to unlawfully using a disabled person’s badge in relation to the parking of a vehicle in Hampshire Terrace, Portsmouth on November 26 last year.
Standing in the dock just days after he graduated from the University of Portsmouth, the defendant was fined £98 with a £20 victim surcharge and £50 costs.
The defendant, who represented himself, said: ‘I have never been in court before, it’s my first time and the last time in this court room.’
He told magistrates he had done volunteering work and planned to study for a master’s degree.
Addressing him, chairman of the bench Wendy Cheshire said: ‘Congratulations on your new degree and your volunteering.’