Photo: Kim Taylor
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A blind Iraqi who lost his eyes in a bomb blast was caught driving a car while receiving instructions on steering and braking from a banned driver, a court heard today.
Omed Aziz, who denies dangerous driving, reached speeds of up to 35mph on a half-mile route through Oldbury, West Midlands, in April.
Warley magistrates’ court was told that Aziz – who also suffers from leg tremors and is partially deaf – was arrested by traffic police after removing his sunglasses to reveal his disability.
Pc Glyn Austin told the court that Aziz and his friend, Dlear Ahmed, were both arrested shortly after 11pm on St George’s Day (April 23) after their Peugeot 405 was followed along Oldbury Ringway and into West Bromwich Street.
The officer said Aziz, of Birmingham Street, Wednesbury, pulled his vehicle on to wasteground after being informed there was a police car behind him.
«I attempted to speak to the driver, who appeared to be fumbling around with the controls,» the traffic officer said. «At that point the passenger leaned across and stated ‘He’s blind’.
«We asked him to step out of the vehicle, which he did eventually and then Pc [Stuart] Edge questioned him as to his eyesight, at which point he then removed his glasses.»
Prosecutor Peter Love asked Pc Austin if he had noticed anything about Aziz. Pc Austin replied: «I did – he didn’t have any eyes, Your Worships.»
Aziz and Ahmed were both arrested and were taken to Smethwick police station, where the former confirmed that he was totally blind and had impaired hearing in his left ear as a result of injuries sustained in an explosion. The 31-year-old also stated that he had previous driving experience prior to being blinded in his homeland.