Stone Roses singer Ian Brown avoids driving ban


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The Independent Online

Stone Roses front man Ian Brown escaped a driving ban today after he was clocked speeding at 105mph.

Brown, 48, of Lymm, Cheshire, appeared before Chester magistrates who fined him £650 and endorsed his driving licence with six penalty points after he pleaded guilty at an earlier hearing to speeding in his Lexus car on the M6.


Brown, wearing a shirt and tie and a large black jacket, thanked magistrates after his lawyer Nick Freeman argued that a driving ban would have caused him "insurmountable" difficulties in relation to seeing his 11-year-old son who lives in London with his mother and in attending Stone Roses band rehearsals which are taking place at "a remote secret location".


Brown, who appeared in court under his full name Ian George Brown, was also ordered to pay £300 prosecution costs and a £15 victim surcharge.


On leaving court, the singer refused to comment on the case but stopped to sign an autograph for a radio journalist.


Alison Warburton, prosecuting, told the court that Brown was caught speeding on the M6 northbound, near Holmes Chapel, Cheshire, on April 25 this year at around 12.30am.


She said a police officer followed his car for five miles and that he drove at 105mph for about a mile.


His speed never dropped below 94mph, the court heard.


The police officer then pulled Brown over, who disputed that he was driving that fast and initially entered a not guilty plea to the charge.


Mr Freeman, dubbed "Mr Loophole" after successfully defending a number of celebrity clients charged with speeding offences, said Brown changed his plea to guilty before his trial when he realised that the speeds clocked by the police were correct.


He said Brown was the "author of his own misfortune" as the officer offered him a roadside fixed penalty which he refused because he incorrectly disputed the speeds at which he was driving.


The court heard that Brown had been driving for 20 years and at the time of the offence had three penalty points on his licence which have now expired.


"That driving record in my view is something of an achievement because he travels a massive mileage," said Mr Freeman who told the court that his client drives around 50,000 miles a year.


He added: "It's an extremely quiet car and doesn't really give much sensation of speed."




Mr Freeman said his client's high mileage was down to his job as a musician and also down to his "domestic arrangements".

He said Brown was going through an "extremely acrimonious" divorce with his wife of 10 years and he drove to London every Wednesday to pick his 11-year-old son up from school and take him out for dinner.


Mr Freeman said he continues to have an "excellent relationship" with his son and also drives to London to see him three weekends out of four.


The court heard that Brown has two other sons, aged 15 and 19, from a previous relationship and he needs his car to continue seeing them regularly.


Brown also goes to the supermarket "regularly" for his elderly parents who live in Timperley, Greater Manchester, the court heard.


Mr Freeman said it was "as a consequence of his domestic obligations" that Brown was "very much dependent" on his car.


The lawyer told the court that if Brown's band the Stone Roses had not recently reformed, there would probably not have been as much press interest in the case.


"It's extremely unfortunate for the defendant. Had this case been heard earlier, he would not have had the attention of the press. It's now big news," he said.


Mr Freeman said the band was now rehearsing on average three days a week "at a remote, secret location".


He said Brown proffered an apology to the court through him.


He added: "As somebody who is now in the public eye, one can imagine the difficulties he would now encounter if he were forced to rely on public transport.


"It would be literally insurmountable. Something would have to give. He would have to reduce his contact with his 11-year-old son at a very difficult time of his life."


Sentencing Brown to the fine and penalty points, magistrates said they decided not to impose a disqualification in view of the fact that the defendant's driving record was "certainly not the worst" they had seen and points would act as more of a deterrent.