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17 Dec

Beckham avoids speeding prosecution

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David Beckham has escaped a speeding prosecution on a technicality.David Beckham will not be prosecuted over a speeding charge after the celebrity lawyer dubbed “Mr Loophole” successfully fought the allegation on a technicality.
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Former England soccer captain Beckham, of Holland Park in west London, was accused of driving a loaned Bentley at 59mph (95km/h) in a 40mph (65km/h) zone on the A40 in Paddington, London, shortly after 5.30pm on January 23.

Despite accepting driving the car at that speed he will not face action because a notice of intended prosecution (NIP) was not received until one day after the statutory 14-day time limit.

His lawyer Nick Freeman told reporters Beckham, who was not in court, was “very relieved with the verdict and very happy with his legal team” after the trial at Wimbledon Magistrates’ Court on Thursday.

Mr Freeman previously helped Beckham overturn an eight-month driving ban in 1999 after successfully arguing the footballer was trying to escape a paparazzi photographer.

After hearing witnesses from both London’s Metropolitan Police and Bentley Motors Ltd, District Judge Barabara Barnes said she was satisfied that the NIP had been sent in time, but had simply arrived later than it should have.

It was one of 3,487 NIPs sent by Scotland Yard on February 2, which go first class, and should have arrived at Bentley, as the registered keepers of the vehicle, no later than February 6.

But she was satisfied it did not arrive until February 7, having heard evidence from Colette Hollies, who has collected post for the legal department at Bentley twice a day for the past nine years.

Mr Freeman suggested the matter may simply have been a case of poor postal service, citing a subsequent letter sent first class by Bentley to Scotland Yard which took eight days to arrive.

He said: “Unfortunately and sadly some post attracts problems. There might be nobody at fault here.”

Summing up, the judge said the law allowed for the “vagaries” of the postal system to be taken into account.

She said: “In this case I’m satisfied that the NIP was indeed sent within the 14 days to allow for it to be delivered within the 14 days…

“The defendant in this case cannot be convicted.”

Mr Freeman, who trademarked the nickname “Mr Loophole” in 2008, gained fame after helping a host of A-list clients hold onto their driving licences.

He counts former Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson and England cricket star Andrew Flintoff among his celebrity clientele.

Beckham made his name at Manchester United in the 1990s before going on to play for Real Madrid, LA Galaxy, AC Milan and Paris Saint-Germain, and also earned 115 caps for the national side.

He retired from playing in 2013.

He and his wife, former Spice Girl Victoria have built up a multi-million pound empire through Victoria’s eponymous fashion house, clothing lines with retailers and product endorsements.

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