A man who denies being at the wheel of his BMW car which was driven off from the scene after a police stop is to stand trial later this year.

Appearing at a plea hearing at Durham Crown Court on Thursday (August 4) Shahbaz Ali denied a charge of dangerous driving, on roads between Durham and Washington, between November 12 and 15, 2021.

The court heard he will, in due course, also be charged with failing to provide a specimen for analysis.

It arises from an incident late on November 13, last year, when police attended outside a pizza takeaway shop in Claypath, Durham, from where a BMW M3 is said to have been driven away.

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The vehicle was subsequently stopped but was again driven away and only found parked with a still warm engine outside a house in Capesthorne Road, Washington, the home address of Mr Ali.

Asked by Judge Ray Singh what the defendant’s defence will be, his counsel, Jennifer Coxon, said: “He simply denies he was the driver.”

Miss Coxon said although the car belongs to her client, other people, who work at a family convenience store, have access to a set of spare keys to the BMW.

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Judge Singh adjourned the case for a trial of between two and three days’ estimated duration to be staged at the court and he bailed the 36-year-old defendant to appear for the start of the hearing, on October 18.

But the judge said it will be a condition of his bail that he is not permitted to drive prior to the trial.

Read next: 

County Durham man denies dangerous driving in police chase

Four County Durham criminals hauled before Durham Crown Court last week

County Durham driver to face serious court consequences

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