BY TOBY PORTER
A baker who had a seizure and lost his driving licence has been battling to get it back – for 13 years.
Barrington Smith, a father-of-nine of Natal Road, Streatham, was banned from driving after having an epileptic episode in November 2004.
His most recent seizure was in August 2005, as confirmed by the epilepsy clinic of the Department of Neurology at St George’s Hospital in Tooting, in March 2006.
That paperwork was sent straight away by Barrington’s solicitors to the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency in Swansea. But its officials have refused to return it, despite a string of at least 20 letters in the intervening years.
They have refused his application on nine separate occasions since then. But they have repeatedly ordered him to fill out application forms in the intervening years.
Barrington, who once ran a bakery in Streatham but closed it several years ago, now runs an outlet in Sheffield with his girlfriend.
It takes him four hours to get there by coach, so it has crippled his ability to make a living.
It has also made it very hard for him to see his family. He said: “It is so frustrating. When you tell people about it, they do not believe you. I have met every standard they have demanded of me since 2006.
But every time I call or write, I hear nothing. “I am just going around in circles. I used to do deliveries to all my customers in London – bread, Jamaican patties and buns, but had to stop doing that when I lost my licence.
They wrecked my business. “Once I get it back, I will start up my business again – but who knows when that will be? “They don’t seem to accept that they make mistakes.”
A spokesman for the DVLA said: “By law all drivers must meet certain minimum medical standards and notify DVLA of the onset or worsening of a medical condition affecting their driving – this is to protect the driver and other road users.
“When we are notified of a medical condition we will investigate, obviously road safety will remain our priority and we will not issue a licence until we can establish the driver meets the minimum medical standards to hold a licence.”
Barrington Smith has applied for a driving licence at least nine times since he was cleared as medically fit to drive in 2005.
- Barrington was cleared by medics to drive for the first time in November 2005. The DVLA told him he could reapply 10 months later, after being 12 months seizure-free. He was told he was fit to drive by St George’s epilepsy expert Dr Tim Von Oertzen and applied but heard nothing.
- Another letter from Dr E S Barnes in March 2006 also confirmed his last seizure date. He was refused this new application in October. A third application was refused that November. He was refused a third time in the same number of months that December – this time because his expired Jamaican passport was not enough to confirm his identity.
- In December 2009, Chidys Solicitors in Tulse Hill demanded his ban be lifted as he had filled out all the forms correctly. Barrington had further tests at the same clinic under the supervision of Dr Paviour, SPR in neurology, in 2010. He was advised to reapply in February that year.
- In October 2011, Chidys sent all the required documents to the DVLA and demanded his British passport – sent almost two years previously, in January 2010, be returned to him so he could travel abroad.
- Chidys repeated the application. again with all the correct enclosures in February 2012.
- He sent another application in November 2012 and when he told them he had already sent one, his application was refused for non-compliance.
- Dr Tahira Zuberi of the Lavendar Hill Group Practice also confirmed in May 2017 that Barrington had had no seizures since August 2005. But in February 2018, the DVLA told him to report to a doctor in Croydon. His application was refused again on April 5.