Joe Cole facing speeding ban

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The Independent Online

England footballer Joe Cole was facing a driving ban today after he was found guilty of speeding at more than 100mph.





The 28-year-old Liverpool player, who already has six points on his licence, was driving his Audi A4 on a dual carriageway in Surrey when a police officer spotted him.



He trained his laser device on the black car and it showed Cole driving at 105mph, Staines Magistrates Court heard.



The footballer, who did not attend court, denied speeding on the A3 Esher bypass at Claygate, but District Judge Clive Wiles found him guilty.



The judge also warned that he faces disqualification and expressed irritation at his absence, and his failure to produce his driving licence.



Dean George, representing Cole, had claimed in court that the speed gun had not been used correctly, producing an inaccurate reading.



Andrew Mitchell, who has since retired from Surrey Police, used the laser speed gun that recorded the incident on November 19 last year.



He said he saw the car being driven towards him at 12.55pm that day, telling the court: "I estimated it to be in excess of the 70mph speed limit.



"My estimate was confirmed when the laser, when shone on the vehicle, recorded a speed of 105mph."



A recording of the incident was shown in court in which Cole appeared to be smiling as he drove past the police officer.



He was not pulled over, but instead had notice of the speeding offence sent to his home by Surrey Police.



The court heard that Cole, whose address was given as Chelsea, London, later signed a document confirming he had been driving at the time.



Mr George works for Nick Freeman, the lawyer nicknamed Mr Loophole, who specialises in speeding cases.



He argued that the police officer had failed to follow the guidelines in the handbook provided with the LTI laser gun, claiming the device was moving when it registered Cole's vehicle.



Mr George said that the subsequent reading was therefore "unreliable".



But Judge Wiles rejected the argument, saying the officer checked the device was working before using it.



The judge was going to sentence the footballer today but Mr George asked for an adjournment so Cole could attend, prompting Judge Wiles to ask: "Why isn't he here?"



Cole's representative replied: "I don't know precisely why he isn't here."



The court was told he was in Liverpool.



Judge Wiles also queried why Cole's licence had not already been produced to the court, saying: "Part of the paperwork that went to Mr Cole indicated his licence had to be at court today, and if it wasn't he may be committing an offence and his licence would be suspended until the court had received it."



Mr George replied: "Normally in these cases instructing solicitors have them fax over a copy or have it submitted on sentence."



To this, he was told by Judge Wiles: "Perhaps Mr Freeman needs to revise his approach."



Cole, who was sent off for a foul in his first Premier League game for Liverpool on Sunday, will have to pay £600 costs, the court heard.



Sentencing was adjourned until August 27.