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The Guardian - UK
The Guardian - UK
Jamie Grierson

‘Inappropriate’ for Braverman to ask for one-to-one speed course, says motoring solicitor

Speed awareness course providers have previously organised one-to-one sessions for high-profile motoring offenders but it would be “wholly inappropriate” to do this for Suella Braverman, a lawyer has claimed.

The Manchester-based solicitor Nick Freeman, who earned the nickname Mr Loophole for successfully defending numerous celebrity clients accused of motoring offences, says he has arranged speeding courses for individuals “several times with several providers”.

Freeman said while it was possible and legal for an individual such as the home secretary to ask if a private course was available, he believed it would be inappropriate for a politician.

In a development first reported by the Sunday Times and the Mail on Sunday, it was alleged that Braverman sought help from Home Office civil servants to try to avoid attending an in-person speed awareness course after being caught speeding, or doing an online course where her name and face would be visible to other participants.

Such courses are made available to drivers who have narrowly broken the speed limit and have not already completed a course within the last three years. They are provided by private firms such as Drivetech, which is part of the AA, and TTC Group.

Freeman, a motoring law specialist whose clients have included David Beckham, Alex Ferguson, Andrew Flintoff and Jeremy Clarkson, said a private course was not possible for everyone.

“It’s for a very tiny minority of people whose presence would cause such a distraction it would dilute the purpose of the course,” he said.

“There’s nothing online about it. I’ve arranged these courses on a one-to-one basis for several clients and have actually been approached on one particular occasion by a course provider who asked me if my client would be willing to have a one-to-one.

“The idea of the course is that it’s instructive and you don’t want to be there thinking ‘Oh wow, look at him or her’. So it’s not publicised, it’s not widely known.”

Freeman said he had no idea how common it was to hold one-to-one courses but he had organised it several times.

He continued: “I have had a case for a certain individual, whose case went to court, and I managed to get it reversed, because there had been administrative problems not of his own making. I got it reversed, got him on a course, got him on a one-to-one.”

Freeman would not provide the names of specific providers who had agreed to one-to-one courses. The Guardian has contacted course providers and is awaiting comment.

On Braverman, he said: “Would she be entitled to one? If I was a course provider I’d say absolutely not. She’s a politician, elected, it would be wholly inappropriate for her to do it but there is nothing wrong with her asking the question.

“What she should have done is come straight out when she was attorney general, held her hands up, she would have won some points by saying ‘I’ve been done for speeding, I’m thoroughly ashamed, I’m sorry, I’m going to do a course that makes me a better and safer driver’.

“Why don’t politicians behave in a way that they should do – they behave like politicians don’t they? This is why the public is so disenfranchised.”

Braverman has insisted that “nothing untoward happened”. On Monday, she confirmed she had accepted a fine and points on her licence for speeding last summer but denied any wrongdoing over the ministerial code.

“What I will say is that in my view I am confident that nothing untoward happened,” she said after being repeatedly pressed on the issue in a brief television interview.

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