Andrew 'Freddie' Flintoff to go on TV road trip around Northern Ireland
Millionaire cricketer Andrew 'Freddie' Flintoff will be able to start filming a road trip in Northern Ireland today after he escaped a driving ban by arguing "exceptional hardship" to magistrates.
Flintoff (36) was already on nine points for speeding and in danger of an automatic ban when he was caught by a speed camera doing 87mph in his Bentley in Cumbria in January, Carlisle Magistrates Court heard.
But magistrates accepted a ban would amount to exceptional hardship because of the effect on others who rely on his extensive charity work and the privacy of his three children.
Instead, the former England all-rounder, caught speeding four times in the last three years, was given the three points on his licence and fined £330, but allowed to keep driving.
His solicitor Michael Neofytou told the court a ban would also affect his TV work – with the defendant due to start filming a show today in Northern Ireland, a "road trip" where he drives a fish and chip van powered by the van's cooking fat.
Flintoff, of Mottram St Andrew, Cheshire, sat listening to his solicitor outline his case for most of the 45-minute hearing.
He was warned after arguing exceptional hardship he would not be able to use the same reasons again in court if he was caught speeding in the next three years.
Before his latest conviction Flintoff was caught speeding on August 12, 2011, June 7, 2012 and June 9, 2014, the court heard.
The latest offence would take him to 12 points and an automatic ban after "totting up" all his driving points.
But Mr Neofytou submitted to magistrates that a ban would amount to exceptional hardship, not for the defendant, but to others.
Mr Neofytou mentioned to magistrates the defendant's "illustrious" cricket career for Lancashire and England and his MBE in 2005, but "did not want to dwell" on those matters, he said.
He continued: "What's much less publicised about him and less well-known is what he does off the pitch.
"This is really one of the stronger arguments for exceptional hardship, what he does off the radar, for those less fortunate than himself
"He's constantly raising money, or trying to when not in his professional role."
Cricketer 'Freddie' Flintoff is a former England Test international and was highly rated as a fast bowler, batsman and slip fielder. The married father-of-three served as England captain, but retired in 2010 after a career plagued by injury, but made a comeback last week. He has been seen regularly on TV and took on a professional boxer as a challenge in 2012 in Manchester. He defeated American Richard Dawson on a points decision.