Music boss dodges driving ban after being caught speeding for FOURTH time
A music mogul caught speeding for the fourth time has been spared a driving ban. Company CEO David Pichilingi, 59, had faced disqualification after he drove his Range Rover Sport at 37mph in a 30mph zone.
But the entertainment boss, whose firm delivers music festivals, successfully argued in court he would suffer ''exceptional hardship''. Pichilingi said his autistic daughter is heavily reliant on him driving her to school, staff would lose their jobs and he wouldn't be able to drive his mother and mother-in-law to hospital appointments.
He also argued mum Eileen Fenlon would not get her regular trips around the seaside resort of Blackpool to see venues where she used to perform. A letter from Sound City’s accounts manager was also handed to the magistrates, which told of how staff were worried about losing their jobs and being unable to pay their mortgages.
In addition to the impact on his employees, the court heard that Pichilingi’s daughter has been diagnosed with autism and OCD and is heavily reliant on her father for transport, including to school. Mrs Fenlon, former cabaret singer, is in her 80s and is said to be poorly, requiring frequent visits to hospital.
Pichilingi who has worked with Ed Sheeran plus groups like New Order, Happy Mondays, and Florence and the Machine told JPs in Sefton, Liverpool: ''My mum Eileen Fenlon was a singer. We take her to Blackpool to visit the hotels she used to sing at. She doesn’t have dementia - it is just giving her a good quality of life and making sure that she is happy."
Pichilingi, boss of both music label Modern Sky UK & North America and Sound City, also said that staff would lose their jobs if he lost his licence and that his family, including his daughter, are ''too dependent'' on him being able to drive. The businessman, who lives in High Street, Hale Village, near Liverpool, was caught speeding on January 30 this year on A561 Garston Way and Dock Road where the speed limit was last year reduced from 40mph.
As he already had nine points on his licence for three previous speeding offences, he was facing a minimum six-month ban under the totting up procedure. The court heard that Pichilingi makes regular visits to his clients' sites and he employs 17 full time staff and a number of freelancers working in a variety of roles including financial management, project delivery, and artist and label management.
When asked what the impact would be if he lost his licence, he said: “We would lay people off.” His accountant supplied a letter to the court which said the music company boss is “highly skilled” and that “nobody else in the organisation has the ability to perform his role.”
A letter from Sound City’s accounts manager was also handed to the magistrates, which told of how staff were worried about losing their jobs and being unable to pay their mortgages. In addition to the impact on his employees, the court heard that Pichilingi’s daughter has been diagnosed with autism and OCD and is heavily reliant on her father for transport, including to school.
He also makes regular visits to see his 93-year-old mother-in-law. The magistrates were told that the Sound City boss earns £6,500 per month. Fining him £500 and making him pay £160 in costs and victim surcharge for the speeding offence, they added three points to his licence but did not disqualify him from driving.
“The bar for exceptional hardship is very high,” said Chairman of the Bench Brian Wilson: “We expect people to suffer inconvenience and hardship when they lose their licence due to an accumulation of so many points for speeding.
“It is a deterrent to stop people from doing it. But we have listened to what has been said and we feel that the exceptional hardship case has been reached. We have listened to your daughter’s needs and the suffering she would be caused if you lose your licence.
“We have also listened to the impact on your business and how that could have an effect on your employees. You also provide assistance to your mother-in-law and mother, with hospital appointments.”