A disqualified driver who forced pedestrians to jump out of the way as he drove up a ramp into a Birmingham shopping centre has been jailed for 18 months.
Qumar Aslam who had previously been banned from driving nine times, caused the mayhem while trying to avoid the police and after smoking cannabis, driving his car up the ramp into the Pallisades at New Street.
In passing sentence Judge Robert Orme said it was an “unusual but serious” case of dangerous driving, although not the worst of its kind.
But he said Aslam had a “dreadful” record for motoring offences and that it would have been obvious to him that the ramp he drove up was for pedestrians.
Aslam, 22, of Earlsbury Gardens, Aston, who admitted dangerous driving, driving while disqualified and having no insurance was also banned from the road for three years.
Christopher Lester, prosecuting at Birmingham Crown Court, said on the 12 April this year at around 9.30pm Aslam, who was at the wheel of a Vauxhall Corsa with a number of passengers, swerved around a bus at a set of traffic lights in Corporation Street, before going on to a pedestrianised area. He then proceeded to drive up the ramp that leads to New Street Station.
Screams could be heard and a number of people on the ramp had to jump out of the way.
Mr Lester said some described Aslam speeding up the ramp, although it was clear he could not get much speed up because of the people there.
At one point Aslam beeped his horn and someone also tried to stand in his way to stop him. However he continued up into the Pallasades pursued by police officers, before stopping.
Officers drew their batons because of concern he might set off again and Aslam and his passengers were arrested. Mr Lester said at the time Aslam had been banned from driving for seven years following a previous incident of dangerous driving.
He said one of the passengers who was the owner of the vehicle had previously been fined for having no insurance. Richard Bond, defending, said it was not a case of the defendant and his friends showing off.
“The reason why he drove up the ramp was that there were policemen around. He knew he was a disqualified driver and panicked. It was a means of escape as far as he was concerned,” he said.
Mr Bond said that Aslam had been smoking cannabis before the incident and that he could not resist the temptation of driving a car despite the fact he had been disqualified.