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Councillor David Browne gave evidence in support of Cllr Nilgun Canver at Wood Green Crown Court
An MP, a London Assembly member and a former Mayor of Haringey came to the defence of a politician in court for lying to the police.
Former mayor Councillor David Browne gave evidence in support of Cllr Nilgun Canver during her trial at Wood Green Crown Court, yesterday.
Tottenham MP David Lammy and London Assembly member Joanne McCartney also acted as referees for the former Haringey Borough Council cabinet member for environment.
Cllr Canver is accused of lying to the police after her son crashed a car he was driving without insurance on January 24, 2013.
Cllr Browne, who arrived at the scene of the accident shortly before Cllr Canver, told the jury that Stavros Oikonomou, who was hurt in the crash, and his brother were “pestering” Cllr Canver for compensation.
He said: “I saw her in conversation with two men and I decided to move her away as I feared for both her safety and mine.
“They were pestering her for compensation because one of them said he was hurt.
“He showed me his leg and I could see a few scratches but I thought they were trying it on.”
On Wednesday, police constable Steve Tutton told the court that Cllr Nilgun Canver repeatedly lied to him about being the driver of the crashed silver BMW.
He said he confronted her after a paramedic told him Mr Oikonomou had said the driver was a man who fled the scene after the crash.
The jury heard that Cllr Canver then burst into tears and admitted to the officer that it was her son, Burak, who was driving the vehicle and she only arrived at the scene after the accident.
PC Tutton said she then tried to “obstruct” his investigation of the incident, and he had to take her telephone from her because he feared she would warn her son that the police knew of his involvement.
Cllr Browne contested this version of events and said Cllr Canver had a “momentary lapse” when she said she was the driver.
He said: “She went to speak to the police and I moved away as I felt I didn’t have anything of value to add.
“I overheard her tell the police that she was the driver and that’s when I pulled her aside and told her of her mistake.
“She realised the error almost straight away and corrected it with the officer.”
PC Tutton, who questioned Cllr Canver at the scene, told the court he had to force the information from her as she did not offer it willingly.
Prosecutor Brendon Morris suggested to Cllr Browne that he was lying to the court to protect Ms Canver.
He said: “She said in front of you that she was the driver and you did not correct her.”
In a statement read out in court, David Lammy MP spoke of his relationship with Cllr Canver and told the court of her work in the community.
He said: “I have much respect for Nilgun as a single working mother and proud representative of her community.
He added: “She has been absolutely devastated by this incident.”
Cllr Canver was in tears as Mr Lammy’s statement was read out.
The case continues.
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