Eden Project founder Sir Tim Smit escapes driving ban due to ‘exceptional hardship’ | UK | News (Reports)

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Smit, of Bodmin Hill in Lostwithiel, is well-known throughout Cornwall for his work at Eden and is currently locked in a battle over plans for Gillyflower Farm, a project that would include an educational facility, orchards, a distillery, microbrewery, a restaurant and 20 accommodation units. Barrister Ramsay Quaife told the court how Smit was clocked driving his Audi A5 at 88 miles-per-hour at Dunheved Bridge on the A30 on December 3, 2019.

His driver’s record showed he already had nine points on his licence relating to speeding matters in June 2017, June 2018 and September 2019, meaning he should have been given a totting disqualification.

Smit’s case was previously heard by magistrates sitting in Bodmin who fined him £320 and ordered him to pay costs of £85.

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Smit was also disqualified as a totter, but his ban was put on hold to allow for the appeal to be heard.

It was Smit’s sixth speeding offence in three and a half years.

Representing Smit, Michael Gregson said that Mr Smit wishes to appeal the ban due to “exceptional hardship”.

Giving evidence in court, Smit said: “My father is blind and is 90 and stepmother six years younger but in the latter stages of Alzheimer’s that has created a number of problems.

“She, like I, is Dutch by birth and has forgotten English and gets angry when people speak English to her. I speak Dutch so my visits have gone up to daily, sometimes twice daily and losing my licence would be catastrophic.”

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Smit added that he is responsible for taking his parents to hospital appointments and that his stepmother won’t go anywhere unless it’s with him, reported CornwallLive.

Smit finished off his evidence by saying that he’s diabetic and is shielding, and that losing his licence would bring his life “to a standstill”.

Considering the appeal, Judge Robert Linford said: “The appellant’s record shows a worrying lack of concern for speed limits.

“He gave evidence under oath about his 90-year-old father and stepmother who suffers Alzheimer’s. Her condition is such she speaks only Dutch and becomes agitated when people speak to her in English.

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“Both the appellant’s father and mother require intensive medical intervention and to be transported to medical appointments.

“The appellant tells us he’s shielding and this makes public transport completely impractical. A driving disqualification would deprive his parents of medical care.

“If times were different this appeal would have been dismissed and he’d have to make alternate plans for their transportation but in these times we find exceptional hardship would exist if a disqualification is imposed.”

The appeal was granted.

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