River Wissey Lovell Fuller

Letter to the Editor

June 2005

Graham is concerned about the leve playing field for speeding fines

Dear Ray,

A lot has been written about the sentence meted out to Lord Greville Howard for driving at 117 mph on the A47 at Terrington St. Clement. A fine of just under £500 and six points on his licence was derisory. He already had two speeding convictions to make the matter worse and I always thought that if you were caught exceeding 100mph, it was an automatic loss of licence for six months. However, the Lynn magistrates pleaded "important public service" as a get-out for the lord, who could easily have afforded a chauffeur.

I remember about four years ago, a young plumber was caught on the Swaffham by-pass doing just over 100mph. Up to that point, he had a clean licence. However, the magistrates imposed a six month driving ban on him although he pleaded strenuously that he would not be able to continue working. As he had a wife and two small children, this was a disaster for the family, but the bench did not relent.

Now what is the difference in the above two cases? Obviously, it is who you know and where your position is in society, things that should never be considered when judgement is passed in any civil or criminal case. I am still smarting at Jack Straw's driver, caught doing 113 mph on the M5 some years back, getting away scot-free. But the worst example of a 'public figure' being let off when totally guilty in the eyes of millions of TV viewers, was John Prescott's right hook to a heckler in the previous election build-up. That was common assault pure and simple, yet he was not even arraigned.

Well, I hope that Lord Howard realises how lucky he is and that this is the jolt to help him improve the way that he drives. After the outbursts in the press since his "sentencing", I don't think that he would have a cat-in-hells chance of receiving such leniency again.

Yours sincerely,

Graham Forster

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