TV comic es­capes driv­ing ban with help of ‘Mr Loop­hole’

Macclesfield Express - - CARE HOME WORKERS SCANDAL -

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

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