Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Store owner with 10 penalty points on license escapes driving ban after Perth Court fines him £300 over 90mph incident

The owner of a Perthshire store who already had 10 penalty points on his driving license escaped a driving ban at Perth Justice of the Peace Court after JP Mrs Eve Forrest fined Mark Birbeck (62) £300 and waived the ban, in connection with an incident in which Police detected Mr Birbeck travelling at 90mph on the M90 between Inverkeithing and Perth on October 6 last year, reports the Daily Record newspaper.

I will sack my staff if you ban me from the road

Jan 19 2011 Gordon Currie

THE multi-millionaire owner of the "Harrods of the north" escaped a driving ban yesterday after threatening to sack staff if he was put off the roads.

Retail tycoon Mark Birkbeck, 62, persuaded a court that a ban would cause him "exceptional hardship" and claimed he was not in a position to hire a chauffeur.

Birkbeck, who employs 240 people at House of Bruar in Perthshire, was allowed to stay on the roads despite now having 14 points on his licence after being caught speeding.

He was already on 10 points when he appeared yesterday at Perth's Justice of the Peace Court. Getting 12 points would usually have resulted in a lengthy ban.

But his lawyer David McKie told the court: "If he is disqualified for six months there will be a large number of redundancies."

Jp Eve Forrest took on board the claimed consequences facing House of Bruar staff, saying: "There are signs of reflected hardship to employees of the business. I will apply four points but will not disqualify you."

But Margaret Dekker, of Scotland's Campaign Against Irresponsible Driving, said: "This is outrageous - this decision by this justice of the peace, and her position generally, needs to be looked at.

"What steps, if any, have the court taken to verify the claims over potential job losses?"

Birkbeck, of Backharn, Grantown-on-Spey, Moray, admitted doing 90mph on the M90 between Inverkeithing and Perth on October 6 last year.

He was driving a £70,000, 3.6-litre Range Rover Vogue at 11.30am when he was detected by police.

Birkbeck claimed no one else in his firm was capable of buying the goods for his upmarket shop on the A9. Mrs Forrest was told Birkbeck lived in a remote house.

Solicitor McKie added: "He does not think he deserves to retain his driving licence."

But despite being told Birkbeck expected a ban, Mrs Forrest fined him £300 and waived a ban.

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