A 35-year old man has been ordered to pay nearly £1,000 in fines and court costs after being caught using his mobile phone while driving.
Matthew David Poole, who runs a business setting up photo booths and dance floors for weddings, and who already had six points on his licence, was spotted driving erratically by police as he drove his Luton van at 11.20pm on March 11.
Prosecuting, Joanne Hesse told the court “He was observed driving a white Ford Luton box van weaving from side to side.
“The officer travelled alongside the defendant and could see that the cabin was illuminated by the light of his phone which was resting on his left knee.
Ms Hesse added: “This defendant was found guilty of driving while using a mobile phone.
“He pleaded not guilty but was convicted after trial.”
The trial took place on September 13 and at the sentencing a week later he pleaded with magistrates not to ban him as it would let down dozens of brides and grooms, as well as ruin his business.
Liz McGowan, defending, said he would suffer exceptional harm if he were banned from driving.
Asking him about his employment in the witness stand, he explained: “We own a family-run company, we hire out equipment – photo booths and LED dance floors – for weddings and corporate events.” He went on to say that there were 98 confirmed events for the company over the coming months. A ban would force him to cancel contracts, refund deposits, disappoint a great many people, and essentially fold his business.
Mrs McGowan went on to ask what effect this would have on his family life. He replied that it would mean he was unable to pay his mortgage, and that his six- and fourteen-year-old children would stand to lose their family home.
She went on to state that the children’s right to a family life was protected by law, and they would be unfairly affected if a driving ban was imposed on their father.
Chairman Paul Harrison, after discussion with the bench, said: “Mr Poole, the bench has listened to the information put to us and the representations of your solicitor.
“You have no previous criminal convictions and you are a man of good character.
“In this instance, we’re not going to impose the ban.”
While not disqualified, the magistrates added another six points to his license and ordered him to pay a £330 fine as well as £653 in court costs and other charges.
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