COUNTY NEWS: Lady C guilty of careless driving

Lady C has been found guilty of careless driving following a collision on the A27 last year.

Thursday, 23rd February 2017, 5:34 pm
Updated Thursday, 7th June 2018, 9:25 pm
Lady Colin Campbell appeared at Brighton Magistrates' Court on Thursday, February 23. Picture: Eddie Mitchell

The I'm A Celebrity! star and socialite appeared at Brighton Magistrates' Court today, Thursday, February 23, charged with driving without due care and attention.

Lady Campbell was found guilty by magistrates and was given a conditional discharge. She had previously pleaded not guilty to the charge, which related to a collision on the A27 on May 6 last year.

Speaking after the sentencing, Lady Campbell she had a 'clear conscience'.

Lady Colin Campbell appeared at Brighton Magistrates' Court on Thursday, February 23. Picture: Eddie Mitchell

"I think the magistrates tried to please everybody, and to the extent that they gave me a conditional discharge they have pleased me as well. It would have pleased me more if we had a ‘not guilty’, but we never expected them to say not guilty."

The court heard how Lady Campbell was driving her Audi A6 from her home in Castle Goring when she pulled out of the junction on Arundel Road in Clapham and collided with an Audi A3.

The A3 then 'launched' into the east-bound carriageway of the A27, where it collided with a Ford Focus. The driver of the A3 was taken to hospital for minor injuries.

The court heard the Audi A3 may have been travelling at 88mph when the collision occurred.

The magistrates took more than 40 minutes to reach their verdict.

Chairman of the bench, magistrate Michael Sandeman, accepted that the Audi A3 was exceeding the speed limit at the time of the collision. As well as the conditional discharge, which was given due to the 'unusual circumstances' of the collision, Lady Campbell was also ordered to pay £680 in court costs and was given three points on her licence.

Her lawyer, Miles Bennett, said Lady Campbell's finances should not be overestimated due to her celebrity, and added that her disclosed income was a £64 a week pension.

To this, Lady Campbell retorted: "We shouldn't have this in front of the press."

The magistrates heard from several witnesses, including the driver of the Audi A3, Harry Court, and Nicholas Ward, a driver who had seen the collision.

Mr Ward said he was waiting at the junction outside the Coach and Horses pub when Mr Court drove past him seconds before the incident occurred.

He described Mr Court using a four-letter expletive at the time because he believed he was breaking the speed limit.

He said: "I have been driving for 40 years and I know when somebody is shifting. It's a problem all the time on that road."

Mr Ward added that Lady Campbell was 'crawling across the road' just before the collision and Mr Court tried to 'drive through a gap that didn't exist'.

Referring to Lady Campbell, he said: "I just thought 'you want to get a move on', because I could see what was going to happen."

Mr Court said he did not exceed the speed limit, and added: "I couldn't brake, there was nothing I could do. She pulled out right in front of me – all I could do was try to avoid her hitting me."

Before the magistrates retired to make their verdict, Lady Campbell's lawyer, Miles Bennett, said: "The reality is this – when you look at the evidence you have got, in particular from Mr Ward, you cannot be sure that this accident was because Lady Campbell drove without care and attention. Even if you are of the view she is at fault, it is way below the test in law that you require."

Both the prosecution and defence asked for the case to be adjourned due to late-coming evidence and a defence witness who could not attend court because it was half term, but the magistrates decided to go ahead.