David Beckham did not use ‘loophole’ to escape speeding conviction, claims a South Essex road traffic solicitor.

A South Essex-based road traffic solicitor has said that David Beckham did not escape a speeding conviction last week as a result of a ‘loophole’, contrary to widespread reporting in the press.

Jeremy Sirrell, a Partner at Palmers Solicitors, which has offices in Basildon, Rayleigh, Thurrock and South Woodham Ferrers, said that the decision not to convict Beckham was ‘absolutely correct’.

Beckham was caught travelling at 59mph in a 40mph zone in London in January.

However, a judge ruled last week that he could not be convicted as a Notice of Intended Prosecution arrived one day after the 14-day deadline.

Jeremy Sirrell said: “The situation is absolutely correct as it follows the law laid down in section 1 of the Road Traffic Offenders Act 1988, which requires notice of prosecution to be given within 14 days for a prosecution to proceed.

“This law has been in place for many years and requires the Police to give notice to drivers in good time so the drivers can respond properly to notices sent out to them.”

He added that the argument in Beckham’s case revolved around whether the prosecution could prove that the notice was sent by first class post.

If the prosecution could have proven this point, the law would have deemed that notice was served two within time.

“Here it seems that the prosecution could not prove it was sent out by first class post," he said. 

"Therefore, the assumption that the notice arrived two days after it was sent out could not be made out and therefore it could not be assumed that the notice arrived within the time limit."

However, whilst the decision has provoked outrage amongst road safety groups, Jeremy Sirrell said that it would be wrong to characterise Beckham’s escape from conviction as being down to a ‘loophole’.

“Section 1 is not a ‘loophole’, section 1 is an absolute requirement forcing the police to serve notices in good time to enable drivers to have a fighting chance of being able to answer the notices that are served on them.

“Without the operation of section 1, there would be no time limit and the police could serve notices at any time after the offence that suited them, thus making it difficult or impossible for drivers to actually answer those notices properly – potentially putting innocent parties at risk of prosecution.

“Failing to answer a notice promptly is itself a discrete offence of ‘failing to give driver’s information’, giving rise to an endorsement of six penalty points and a fine”.

“People should not forget that the 14-day deadline exists in order to enable a deadline to exist for the provision of drivers’ details and, ultimately, to protect innocent motorists from wrongful prosecution,” concluded Jeremy Sirrell.