Defoe fined for 'frivolous' speeding appeal

Jermain Defoe was today criticised by a judge for making a "frivolous" attempt to escape speeding penalties - and handed a legal bill of more than £1,500.

Judge Anthony Goldstaub QC dismissed Defoe's appeal against a driving ban, saying he thought the Tottenham and England striker had "played the litigation game".

During a hearing at Chelmsford Crown Court, the judge said Defoe's arguments were based on "sad and ill-conceived technical points" and the appeal should not have been launched.

Defoe, 27, of Cuffley, Hertfordshire, appealed after being disqualified from driving in July.

Chelmsford Magistrates Court had been told Defoe twice broke a 50mph speed limit on the M11 northbound in Chigwell, Essex, in 2008.

District Judge David Cooper was told Defoe's luxury black Land Rover sports vehicle was clocked travelling at 65mph on April 16 and 81mph on June 5.

Defoe denied any offence but Judge Cooper found him guilty of speeding and failing to inform the authorities who was driving.

Defoe was fined £1,500, disqualified from driving for six months, had 12 penalty points added to his licence and was ordered to pay £600 costs.

The footballer, represented by celebrity lawyer Nick Freeman, appealed and argued there was no evidence to prove he was driving; prosecutors had not proved paperwork was issued by a person authorised by the chief constable of Essex; the court could not be sure Defoe had received speeding notices and the court could not be sure Defoe had not responded to the notices.

Judge Goldstaub said: "This appeal is a frivolous and vexatious piece of criminal litigation by the appellant and should never have been initiated.

"It is based on technical and legal points empty of substantial merit and bad in themselves."

The judge said paperwork had been completed by agents authorised by the chief constable.

And he said it was "inconceivable, or at best highly fanciful," to assume post addressed to Defoe had twice gone astray.

The judge said he was equally sure Defoe had not responded to the notices.

Judge Goldstaub, who sat with two magistrates to hear the appeal, said he was also sure Defoe had been the driver.

The judge said: "We don't know why the appellant ran these sad and ill-conceived technical points.

"He must have been fully aware that, in reality, he was the driver and he had broken the speed limits.

"We think he chose to give the prosecution a run for the money regardless, simply because he could afford to play the litigation game.

"We regret this. His lawyers will have advised him it is a game of dubious validity.

"We regret this appeal, which has taken up a day's court time when people waiting in custody for trials on serious charges should have been brought."

The judge ordered Defoe to pay prosecution appeal costs of £1,570.

"We feel that the [prosecution] claim is an extremely modest claim," said the judge.

"We would lay long odds that Mr Freeman, solicitor for the appellant, and his counsel, are remunerated on a very much higher level."

The judge was told Defoe's driving ban began as soon as the appeal failed.

He said he hoped Defoe won a place in the England squad for the World Cup in South Africa in 2010 but warned the striker not to get behind the wheel.

The judge added: "We hope he gets to South Africa. But he must not drive in the UK."

Defoe was not present in court to hear the judge's comments.

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

Not even the 'putrid throat' could stop the Ross Poldark swoon-fest'

Not even the 'putrid throat' could stop the Ross Poldark swoon-fest'

How a costume drama became a Sunday night staple
Miliband promises no stamp duty for first-time buyers as he pushes Tories on housing

Miliband promises no stamp duty for first-time buyers

Labour leader pushes Tories on housing
Aviation history is littered with grand failures - from the the Bristol Brabazon to Concorde - but what went wrong with the SuperJumbo?

Aviation history is littered with grand failures

But what went wrong with the SuperJumbo?
Fear of Putin, Islamists and immigration is giving rise to a new generation of Soviet-style 'iron curtains' right across Europe

Fortress Europe?

Fear of Putin, Islamists and immigration is giving rise to a new generation of 'iron curtains'
Never mind what you're wearing, it's what you're reclining on

Never mind what you're wearing

It's what you're reclining on that matters
General Election 2015: Chuka Umunna on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband

Chuka Umunna: A virus of racism runs through Ukip

The shadow business secretary on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband
Yemen crisis: This exotic war will soon become Europe's problem

Yemen's exotic war will soon affect Europe

Terrorism and boatloads of desperate migrants will be the outcome of the Saudi air campaign, says Patrick Cockburn
Marginal Streets project aims to document voters in the run-up to the General Election

Marginal Streets project documents voters

Independent photographers Joseph Fox and Orlando Gili are uploading two portraits of constituents to their website for each day of the campaign
Game of Thrones: Visit the real-life kingdom of Westeros to see where violent history ends and telly tourism begins

The real-life kingdom of Westeros

Is there something a little uncomfortable about Game of Thrones shooting in Northern Ireland?
How to survive a social-media mauling, by the tough women of Twitter

How to survive a Twitter mauling

Mary Beard, Caroline Criado-Perez, Louise Mensch, Bunny La Roche and Courtney Barrasford reveal how to trounce the trolls
Gallipoli centenary: At dawn, the young remember the young who perished in one of the First World War's bloodiest battles

At dawn, the young remember the young

A century ago, soldiers of the Empire – many no more than boys – spilt on to Gallipoli’s beaches. On this 100th Anzac Day, there are personal, poetic tributes to their sacrifice
Dissent is slowly building against the billions spent on presidential campaigns – even among politicians themselves

Follow the money as never before

Dissent is slowly building against the billions spent on presidential campaigns – even among politicians themselves, reports Rupert Cornwell
Samuel West interview: The actor and director on austerity, unionisation, and not mentioning his famous parents

Samuel West interview

The actor and director on austerity, unionisation, and not mentioning his famous parents
General Election 2015: Imagine if the leading political parties were fashion labels

Imagine if the leading political parties were fashion labels

Fashion editor, Alexander Fury, on what the leaders' appearances tell us about them
Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka: Home can be the unsafest place for women

Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka: Home can be the unsafest place for women

The architect of the HeForShe movement and head of UN Women on the world's failure to combat domestic violence