Football star overturns speeding fine in test case

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The Independent Online

In a court victory that could benefit thousands of motorists, the footballer Dwight Yorke succeeded yesterday in overturning a speeding fine.

The Blackburn Rovers striker had been fined £350, with £1,000 court costs, after a speed camera caught his Porsche 911 turbo doing 61mph in a 40mph zone. But the conviction was quashed in the High Court because he did not "personally" fill in an official form to show that he was the driver.

Mr Justice Owen said magistrates had established a prima facie case against Yorke on an "erroneous basis".

He conceded that the ruling could have a wide application "given the prevalence of the use of laser and photographic technology to check the speed of motor vehicles". The question may finally have to be resolved in the House of Lords.

Yorke, then living in Alderley Edge, Cheshire, was alleged to have partially filled in the form and returned it to the central ticket office in Manchester in July 2001, although it did not contain his signature.

The law requires the owner or keeper of a vehicle to give information on the form identifying the driver when a vehicle is allegedly caught speeding.

The judge said there appeared to be "widespread knowledge" that was spreading "like a virus" that an unsigned form was inadmissible as evidence and this might be a loophole making it possible to escape a speeding conviction.