Mon, 11 Jun 2012
A BUSINESSMAN has been cleared of speeding at more than 100mph after explaining he had been driving an injured child to hospital.
James Pipe, 35, of Park Meadow, Doddinghurst, was clocked by a police officer driving his S3 Audi at 106 mph, on the A12 at Ingatestone, in October 2010.
He denied driving so fast, but said even if he was speeding, he needed to get his girlfriend’s nephew to hospital because the boy had suffered a serious football injury.
He was convicted of speeding and fined but the verdict was overturned at the High Court last week when Mr Justice Owen heard the full details of the case.
The judge said magistrates at Basildon Magistrates’ Court were wrong in their interpretation of the law relating to the defences of necessity or “duress of circumstances”.
Mr Pipe, who runs a fire-door fitting business, was watching 14-year-old Joseph Jewell play in a football match when the teenager fell and suffered serious ligament damage.
The boy was in extreme pain and was screaming out in agony, the court heard.
Emergency services were called, but after waiting more than half an hour for an ambulance, Mr Pipe decided to drive Joseph to Broomfield Hospital, Chelmsford.
A police officer stationed on Trueloves Bridge over the A12 clocked his speed and followed him on a motorbike, stopping him after a short distance.
Mr Pipe questioned the reliability of the speed-testing device and questioned whether he was speeding.
Mr Justice Owen said the magistrates were wrong in thinking Mr Pipe’s defence of necessity or duress of circumstance had to fail because the boy’s injury was not life-threatening.
He said: “In my judgment, I cannot be confident that, if they correctly directed themselves, they would have arrived at the same conclusion, bearing in mind all of the circumstances of the case.
“In those circumstances, the conviction must be quashed. I am not persuaded it would be appropriate that the matter is directed to the magistrates for re-hearing.”
Mr Pipe, said to be of excellent character, also saw his sentence – comprising a £330 fine, £15 victim surcharge, £620 costs and five penalty points – quashed.
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