Chris Tarrant fined for double speeding offence

Chris Tarrant was given six points on his licence and fined £525 today after he was caught speeding twice in 21 minutes on the same stretch of road.

Celebrity lawyer Nick Freeman, dubbed Mr Loophole, pleaded guilty on behalf of his client after losing an argument for abuse of process.

District Judge Peter Crabtree, sitting at Reading Magistrates' Court, gave Tarrant, who was not in court, three points for each offence and ordered him to pay a fine of £525 plus £1,630 in costs.

The TV presenter was filmed twice by the same camera exceeding the 30mph limit on Broad Lane in Upper Bucklebury, Berkshire, on the morning of May 20 last year.

He was caught at 10.30am driving his silver Mercedes Benz CL500 at 47mph, cutting a corner.

He was then caught by the same marked van 21 minutes later returning in the other direction at 41mph.

Mr Freeman argued that two summonses for Tarrant to appear in court went missing, meaning he received the third summons 11 weeks after the six-month time limit set out in Section 127 of the Magistrates Act 1980.

But the judge found the delay was not the fault of the prosecution and did not prevent a fair trial.

He also refused to treat the offences as occurring on a single occasion.







The judge said: "47mph is a high speed in a 30mph limit and he crosses the corner slightly.

"He didn't in the second offence and there are no aggravating factors here such as pedestrians or traffic."

The costs included £930 for the Crown Prosecution Service, £700 for an expert report on the incident and an additional £15 victim surcharge.

Mr Freeman said both offences were worthy of fixed penalty fines but said: "The two offences occur 21 minutes apart on the same stretch of road in ideal traffic conditions.

"Had he been 20 minutes down the road going in the same direction you would probably have been of the view it was the some occasion."

He also argued that Tarrant was not warned of his high speed after committing the first offence, in which case he may not have committed the second offence.

Before today, the television presenter already had three points on his licence.









Arguing for an abuse of process, Mr Freeman said: "In essence, the first notification Mr Tarrant had that he was going to be prosecuted for both these offences was 11 weeks beyond the six- month time period."

He said that, in any case, the information needed for the court to issue the summons was only received on November 13, a week before the end of the six-month period.

This meant it was always going to be impossible for his client to be notified in time.

He said: "I would inquire as to why it was left until a week before the end of that period for the information to be laid.

"This is a very straightforward case, it's not the most serious case.

"We stand here 17 months on from the date of the allegations for trial. In my view that's not how the new legislation is designed to deal with this matter.

"None of the delay in terms of the service (of the summonses) is in any way attributable to the defendant. He has responded without prevarication from the outset."

He continued: "In my view there's fault here. It certainly isn't Mr Tarrant's fault. The fault is with the prosecution process.

"It's a substantial error, it's not a small error. It doesn't result in a small delay, it's a substantial delay."

The court heard that it was not known why the summonses were never sent from court to the fixed penalty unit, so Tarrant could be notified.

Mr Freeman speculated that it could only because somebody removed them from the court bag or "the result of utter incompetence".

The court heard that Tarrant was notified in June last year of the possibility of prosecution and was offered a conditional fixed penalty of £60 and three points.

Andrew Perry, prosecuting, said the message was: "We've enough evidence to prosecute you but here's a cheaper way out if you want it."

He said there was "no response" so the authorities pressed ahead with a prosecution.

He added: "There is no question here of any manipulation of the prosecution process."

Leaving court, Mr Freeman said there was no comment on behalf of his client.









Arguing for an abuse of process, Mr Freeman said: "In essence, the first notification Mr Tarrant had that he was going to be prosecuted for both these offences was 11 weeks beyond the six- month time period."

He said that, in any case, the information needed for the court to issue the summons was only received on November 13, a week before the end of the six-month period.

This meant it was always going to be impossible for his client to be notified in time.

He said: "I would inquire as to why it was left until a week before the end of that period for the information to be laid.

"This is a very straightforward case, it's not the most serious case.

"We stand here 17 months on from the date of the allegations for trial. In my view that's not how the new legislation is designed to deal with this matter.

"None of the delay in terms of the service (of the summonses) is in any way attributable to the defendant. He has responded without prevarication from the outset."

He continued: "In my view there's fault here. It certainly isn't Mr Tarrant's fault. The fault is with the prosecution process.

"It's a substantial error, it's not a small error. It doesn't result in a small delay, it's a substantial delay."

The court heard that it was not known why the summonses were never sent from court to the fixed penalty unit, so Tarrant could be notified.

Mr Freeman speculated that it could only because somebody removed them from the court bag or "the result of utter incompetence".

The court heard that Tarrant was notified in June last year of the possibility of prosecution and was offered a conditional fixed penalty of £60 and three points.

Andrew Perry, prosecuting, said the message was: "We've enough evidence to prosecute you but here's a cheaper way out if you want it."

He said there was "no response" so the authorities pressed ahead with a prosecution.

He added: "There is no question here of any manipulation of the prosecution process."

Leaving court, Mr Freeman said there was no comment on behalf of his client.

















Arguing for an abuse of process, Mr Freeman said: "In essence, the first notification Mr Tarrant had that he was going to be prosecuted for both these offences was 11 weeks beyond the six- month time period."

He said that, in any case, the information needed for the court to issue the summons was only received on November 13, a week before the end of the six-month period.



This meant it was always going to be impossible for his client to be notified in time.



He said: "I would inquire as to why it was left until a week before the end of that period for the information to be laid.



"This is a very straightforward case, it's not the most serious case.



"We stand here 17 months on from the date of the allegations for trial. In my view that's not how the new legislation is designed to deal with this matter.



"None of the delay in terms of the service (of the summonses) is in any way attributable to the defendant. He has responded without prevarication from the outset."



He continued: "In my view there's fault here. It certainly isn't Mr Tarrant's fault. The fault is with the prosecution process.



"It's a substantial error, it's not a small error. It doesn't result in a small delay, it's a substantial delay."



The court heard that it was not known why the summonses were never sent from court to the fixed penalty unit, so Tarrant could be notified.



Mr Freeman speculated that it could only because somebody removed them from the court bag or "the result of utter incompetence".



The court heard that Tarrant was notified in June last year of the possibility of prosecution and was offered a conditional fixed penalty of £60 and three points.



Andrew Perry, prosecuting, said the message was: "We've enough evidence to prosecute you but here's a cheaper way out if you want it."



He said there was "no response" so the authorities pressed ahead with a prosecution.



He added: "There is no question here of any manipulation of the prosecution process."



Leaving court, Mr Freeman said there was no comment on behalf of his client.