David Beckham admitted driving nearly 20mph over the speed limit in a loaned Bentley but denies speeding because legal papers were served late, his lawyer, dubbed ‘Mr Loophole’ claims.
The former England superstar, 43, will stand trial later this month after he was caught driving a £200,000 Bentley at 59mph in a 40mph zone in January.
His solicitor Nick Freeman, dubbed Mr Loophole for representing several celebrities facing driving charges, said it was “admitted” Beckham was behind the wheel and broke the limit.
But during a hearing at Wimbledon Magistrates Court today (TUE), Mr Freeman indicated a not guilty plea on Beckham’s behalf because he claimed legal papers about the offence were not served on time.
A trial date of September 27 was set during the case management hearing, which Beckham did not attend.
District Judge Barbara Barnes asked Mr Freeman: “That’s admitted, the driver and the speed?”
Mr Freeman said: “Yes.”
He said the car was a “loan vehicle” from Bentley so a notice of intended prosecution was sent to the manufacturer instead of Beckham after it was clocked speeding.
But the letter was not received until more than the legal time limit of two weeks after the alleged offence on January 23, Mr Freeman said.
The court heard the letter, which was dated February 2, was not received by Bentley until February 7.
He said: “I don’t accept it was served on the second. At the moment I don’t have the chronology so I don’t know.
“I accept the date on it is the second. As I understand it that’s the date it was printed. Not the date it was served.”
Mr Freeman added: “What I’m saying is the notice is defective because it arrived out of time.”
The court was told a stamp to indicate receipt of the letter was dated February 7.
Prosecutor Simon Maughan said: “I’m accepting of the letter, I’m accepting of the date on the letter, I’m accepting that the seventh has been stamped on the letter.
“There can be no issue with the date on the letter.”
Beckham, of Holland Park, west London, allegedly broke the limit while driving on the A40 flyover in Paddington, central London.
District Judge Barbara Barnes said: “I will fix the trial date on September 27.”
Referring to the punishment if Beckham is found guilty, she said: “I think we’re in unlimited fines territory.”
She added: “Service of the intended prosecution should be received within 14 days. The defence say it was outside 14 days.”
Asked whether Beckham would be present at the trial, Mr Freeman said: “I don’t anticipate it.”
He added: “If the case goes against him and if the result is disqualification then I will make it absolutely clear.”
Beckham also did not attend an earlier hearing at Lavender Hill Magistrates Court on August 28.
According to the charge sheet on that date, he sent his not guilty plea by post on August 17.