FORMER RUGBY player Liam Botham has successfully avoided a driving ban after an administrative mix-up.
The 39-year-old son of cricket legend Sir Ian Botham was facing a six-month ban after being charged with failing to tell police who was behind the wheel when his car was clocked speeding two years ago.
His Land Rover was doing 58mph in a 50mph zone on the A690 at Houghton-le-Spring, Tyne and Wear, on February 17, 2015.
But Newcastle Crown Court heard how police sent one notice to his home address in Richmond, North Yorkshire, and a follow-up to an address in London, where the vehicle was insured.
That was backed up 28 days later by a “postal requisition”, or summons, sent to the London address when there was no response to either notice.
But Botham had not lived at the London address for some time, the court heard, and for that reason his appeal succeeded.
Botham had been convicted by magistrates of failing to give information relating to the identity of the driver of the vehicle and had been fined £1,000 with £600 costs, had six points on his licence and was facing disqualification from driving for six months under the points system.
But at Newcastle Crown Court Judge Bryan Cox QC, who was sitting with two magistrates, granted the appeal.
An application for defence costs was rejected, as Matthew Collins, for the Crown, said: “The defendant candidly accepts he was the motorist in the speeding vehicle.”
Mr Collins said the defective charge could have been amended at a previous hearing in a lower court.
Botham, of Ravensworth, Richmond, played cricket for Hampshire before being capped by England under-21s at rugby union, then switching codes to rugby league, playing for clubs including Leeds Rhinos.
Born in Doncaster, his godfather is the former West Indian cricket captain Viv Richards.
In 2005, he announced his retirement aged 27 after a neck injury. Since retiring, Botham runs a sports travel company, and lives in London.
His father, although best known as a cricketer, was also a talented footballer, and made 11 appearances in the Football League for Scunthorpe United.
Botham has been a prodigious fundraiser for charitable causes