MP accused of making lodger scapegoat in speeding case
Fiona Onasanya claimed her car was being driven by man who was in Russia at the time, Old Bailey hears
A Labour MP plotted with her brother to lie to police in order to evade a speeding prosecution, a court heard today.
Fiona Onasanya allegedly told Cambridgeshire Police that her Russian former lodger, a man called Aleks Antipow, was behind the wheel when it was clocked speeding. But he was in Russia at the time of the incident, the Old Bailey was told.
Onasanya, a solicitor, had been elected as MP for Peterborough just one month before the vehicle was spotted travelling at 41mph in a 30mph zone in Thorney, near Peterborough, on 24 July last year.
In order “to avoid prosecution and punishment”, she and her 33-year-old brother, Festus, “acted jointly in telling lies”, said prosecutor David Jeremy QC.
Onasanya, 35, was sent a notice of intended prosecution (NIP), which was “returned naming Antipow as the driver”, reports The Times.
The address provided for Antipow was for a property that Onasanya had lived at for a short time where the Russian had been a lodger, meaning that he was “untraceable to the police”, the prosecuter said.
Mobile phone records “reveal that Onasanya’s two handsets were also in her car at the time her vehicle was caught speeding”, the Times adds.
The Labour whip denies a single charge of perverting the course of justice.
The court was told that her brother had also “deployed the tactic” when his car was caught by a speed camera on two occasions. Last week he admitted three counts of perverting the course of justice in relation to traffic offences, including the incident involving his sister’s car. He has been bailed until the end of her trial, when he will be sentenced, reports the BBC.
Prosecutor David Jeremy QC said: “This case did start as a case about an offence of speeding. It has become, as a result of the choices made by Onasanya, a case about lying. Lying persistently and deliberately, lying all the way to this court and it may be even lying in this court... lying to avoid prosecution for a breach of the laws that apply, or should apply, to all of us.”
Adressing jurors, he added: “The question for you to decide in this case will be whether Festus Onasanya was acting alone or whether the two of them were acting together.”