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Jury in Councillor Nilgun Canver trial retire to consider verdict
The jury in the trial of a politician accused of attempting to pervert the course of justice has retired to consider its verdict.
Judge Fraser Morrison summed up the evidence at Councillor Nilgun Canver’s trial at Wood Green Crown Court this afternoon before excusing jurors to begin their deliberations.
Haringey Borough Council’s former cabinet member for environment is accused of lying to the police after her son crashed a car he was driving without insurance.
During the trial, two witnesses and a police officer testified that Cllr Canver repeatedly claimed she was the driver who crashed the silver BMW in Seven Sister Road, Tottenham, on January 24, 2013.
Cllr Canver has denied the charge and said she made a “momentary” mistake which she corrected quickly afterwards.
According to Stavros Oikonomou, who claims to have been hit by the car, Cllr Canver told him she was the driver.
When Mr Oikonomou confronted her and said it was a man driving the vehicle, he claims she offered him money to not call the police, telling him: “have mercy, brother”.
His brother Sotirius, who was also present, backed up Mr Oikonomou's version of events as correct and true.
PC Tutton, the first officer to arrive at the scene, also said Cllr Canver told him she was the driver and only admitted her son was involved after he forced the information from her.
The officer told the court he was “quite frustrated” Cllr Canver was trying to obstruct the investigation.
Cllr Canver denies telling the two brothers she was the driver but accepted that she lied to the officer before co-operating fully.
Judge Morrison told the jury they would have to consider whether the councillor was “doing an act which has the tendency and is intended to pervert the course of public justice”.
He said: “She admits lying to police but what you must consider is her state of mind when she told this lie.
“It is not a defence that she corrected it a short time later, it is not a defence that she was upset and it is not a defence that Stavros said he understood that she was trying to protect her son.”
The judge also reminded the jury of a point made by prosecutor Brendon Morris, about why the brothers would claim Cllr Canver had said she was the driver if she had not told them.
Judge Morrison said: “The two brothers were not present for Mrs Canver’s conversation with PC Tutton so how would they know she claimed to be the driver?
“There seems to be some contradiction here which you will have to resolve.”
Jurors were also reminded of the St Ann’s ward councillor’s “excellent” character and the testimony given by some of Haringey’s leading political figures, including Tottenham MP David Lammy.
The judge said: “Not many defendants would have their MPs willing to give a sworn statement in their defence and have him appear in court to back it up if need be.”
Judge Morrison told the jury of four women and eight men they were expected to reach a unanimous verdict.
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