Cumbria

Golfer Colin Montgomerie has speeding ban overturned

Colin Montgomerie was playing in the Wales Open
Image caption Colin Montgomerie was banned as he already had nine points

Ryder Cup golf captain Colin Montgomerie has won his driving licence back after a judge ruled that a laser gun reading was invalid.

A court heard Cumbria Police had instructed a civilian worker to target all motorists regardless of whether they were breaking the speed limit.

Montgomerie was clocked driving his BMW at 37mph in a 30mph zone on the A69, near Carlisle, in November 2008.

The Scot was given three penalty points and banned from driving for six months.

Montgomerie was banned because his licence already had nine points. He was also fined £850, with prosecution costs of £4,000.

The conviction was overturned on Tuesday by Judge Peter Hughes QC at Carlisle Crown Court.

Judge Hughes pointed out that the civilian employee was wrongly targeting motorists at random, including those driving only at 10mph, and he had even trained his gun on pedestrians and joggers.

'Mr Loophole'

Judge Hughes questioned how this raised speed awareness and asked for his ruling remarks to be passed to Craig Mackey, the chief constable of Cumbria Constabulary.

Following the case, Montgomerie's lawyer Nick Freeman - dubbed Mr Loophole for clearing celebrity clients on driving charges - said the golfer was "relieved" by the decision.

He said: "It transpired that the officer was indiscriminately measuring the speed of hundreds of vehicles, as opposed to the ones he thought may have been speeding.

"It is extremely unfortunate that the prosecution felt it necessary to waste tens of thousands of pounds in pursuing a prosecution when they were aware of these facts from an early stage."

It is understood other motorists who received automatic tickets from the operation could have their fines overturned.

A spokesperson from Cumbria Constabulary, said: "We are aware of the ruling in court and will be reviewing the case to ensure the correct processes and protocols are in place and that they are being followed.

"The safety of the public is our number one priority and we are committed to using every tool at our disposal to reduce the numbers of people killed or seriously injured on our roads."

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