Out­rage as foot­baller is spared ban

Daily Express - - NEWS -

FOR­MER Eng­land foot­ball star John Barnes caused out­rage yes­ter­day when a court spared him a driv­ing ban af­ter he claimed that it would cause him “ex­cep­tional hard­ship”.

The 44-year-old ex-Liver­pool mid­fielder was ex­pected to be banned af­ter po­lice caught him driv­ing without in­sur­ance on the M6.

But he com­plained to mag­is­trates in North­wich, Cheshire, that a ban could af­fect his new job – man­ager of the Ja­maican na­tional side 5,000 miles away.

The TV pun­dit, who lives in a £1mil­lion man­sion at Ne­ston, Mersey­side, also ar­gued that he could not af­ford to hire a driver be­cause his earn­ings of about £4,000 a week “var­ied dras­ti­cally”.

Barnes al­ready had nine points on his li­cence, and the nor­mal six-point penalty for hav­ing no in­sur­ance would push him over the 12-point limit, re­sult­ing in him los­ing BARNES: Es­caped his li­cence. JPs fined him car li­cence ban £2,000 but spared him a ban af­ter “tak­ing into con­sid­er­a­tion his work, fam­ily, and char­ity com­mit­ments”.

Barnes claimed that los­ing his li­cence would make his new job as boss of the Ja­maican team vir­tu­ally im­pos­si­ble. “Three-quar­ters of the play­ers play in this coun­try,” he said. “I have to go and see them at their clubs to se­lect them. They’re all over the coun­try.”

Jane Whitham, of road safety cam­paign­ers Brake, said: “It’s ridicu­lous for the crim­i­nal jus­tice sys­tem to let some­one off a driv­ing ban be­cause they can’t af­ford a chauf­feur. What’s wrong with the bus?”

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