TV comic escapes driving ban with help of ‘Mr Loophole’
TV comic Paddy McGuinness has escaped a driving ban with the help of lawyer Nick Freeman - aka ‘Mr Loophole’ - despite earlier pleading GUILTY.
The Take Me Out star, 44, had originally admitted a charge of failing to give information relating to the identification of a driver earlier this year.
It came after his Range Rover was caught speeding in August last year and carries six penalty points, which would have taken Mr McGuinness to 12 - and a mandatory ban.
But between entering a plea and sentencing, he sought legal advice from Mr Freeman, who told him to withdraw the plea and go to trial.
The case was dismissed at Manchester Magistrates’ Court on Tuesday after the lawyer argued the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) has displayed a ‘cavalier approach’ to the case.
Mr Freeman said that his client, from Prestbury, had moved house three times in two years and had not received either a notice of intended prosecution or a reminder.
He had only become aware of the case after receiving a single justice procedure notice (SJPN) and asked for a photo of the car speeding, which it was said he also never received.
Mr Freeman then recounted procedural mistakes from the CPS with the case’s evidence.
He said: “We have not seen any records, we have not seen any exhibits whatsoever. I arrived at court today with my client ready for a trial with absolutely no disclosure.
“The Crown has complied with none of its legal duties whatsoever, it has a duty to be proactive.
“The whole purpose of having these provisions in place is so we can arrive at court prepared so we can do the job properly.
“The system is clearly flawed.”
Prosecutor James Gore said the case had originally been a police-led prosecution before the CPS became involved.
He said necessary emails had not been sent to the correct address.
It was argued Mr McGuinness, of Macclesfield Road, may not have been driving the car when it was caught speeding as it was having work done in a garage around that time.
Having had the guilty plea set aside with Mr Freeman’s help, the former Phoenix Nights star then pleaded not guilty on July 3 this year.
The original plea was described in court as ‘equivocal’, which means it was done without certainty that there was guilt.
Speaking after the hearing Mr Freeman said: “Mr McGuinness’s Range Rover was caught speeding on August 8, 2016, but my client did not believe he was the driver, as his car was having some work undertaken at about that time. Mr McGuinness did not receive the notice of intended prosecution, nor the reminder, that were both allegedly sent to his home address.
“My client is obviously relieved to have been found not guilty.
“Surprisingly the CPS case was in total chaos since it hadn’t complied with any of their legal statutory obligations and consequently we hadn’t received the relevant evidence.
“Which aside from Mr McGuinness’s defence placed them in extreme difficulty.”
Paddy McGuinness leaving court with Mr Loophole Nick Freeman after the case was dismissed