A MAN who lied in court to help convict a taxi driver of an assault he didn’t commit has avoided a jail sentence.
Christopher Price agreed to back up his friend Turhan Arda, himself a taxi driver, who claimed he had been spat at and racially abused by Iain Wilson in Gosport.
Price had been nowhere near the alleged incident.
But he believed Arda so he told the police he had seen it happen.
It led to the innocent Mr Wilson, from Gosport, being convicted in court and ordered to pay £415 in a fine and costs.
The story unfolded after the taxi driver appealed his conviction and Price was called to give evidence for a second time.
The 32-year-old chef tried to avoid going to court.
But when he was arrested on a warrant and made to appear as a witness he came clean.
Price, of Edgecombe Crescent, Gosport, pleaded guilty to perverting the course of justice and perjury.
Roderick James, defending, said: ‘What on earth possessed Mr Price to do that is still a mystery to this day because there wasn’t anything in it for him. There’s no suggestion he was being paid to do it.
‘He says he felt sorry for Mr Arda and that is why he made the statement.’
The court heard Arda, 40, of Magennis Close, Gosport, still insists the assault took place and investigations are ongoing.
Sentencing Price, Deputy Circuit Judge Patrick Hooton said: ‘You must have been completely mad to get involved in this.
‘What on earth possessed you?
‘What you did meant that a perfectly innocent man was dragged up to court, convicted of racially-aggravated assault and then had to go and try to appeal against it.
‘You only came to your senses after you realised that eventually you would have to give evidence again and it was too much for you.’
The judge added: ‘Normally people who fabricate evidence get sent to prison.’
The judge said he would spare Price jail because he believed an assault had taken place. The former delivery driver, who lost his job after he was convicted of drink-driving, was given a six-month prison sentence suspended for a year. He was also told to do 100 hours of unpaid work.