Motorist has fines reduced after he broke speed limit at Testos roadworks twice in two days

A motorist was advised to choose his friends more wisely by a judge after admitting in court he had twice broken the speed limit after taking advice from a pal.

Thursday, 10th September 2020, 7:00 am

Graham Cram, 37, whizzed through 40mph average speed cameras at roadworks at Testo’s Roundabout, South Tyneside, at speeds of 60mph and 57mph.

The dad did so in a 2007-plate BMW at night on Saturday, January 4, and again two days later in a 2009-registration Mercedes.

He told South Tyneside Magistrates’ Court the offences came after a friend insisted temporary limits only applied if highways teams were on-site working.

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Work started last year will see a new flyover built at the A19 junction in Boldon so that traffic will not need to leave the major route to negotiate the junction.

District Judge Sarah Griffiths corrected his mistake – and reduced fines imposed against him at a previous court hearing after hearing he was struggling to pay.

But she refused to reduce the eight penalty points imposed – four for each offence – after Cram also asked her to turn them into three each.

Judge Griffiths told the self-employed driver and part-time bar worker: “I don’t know why you listened to your friend, it was a totally foolish thing to do. The speed limit is the speed limit.

“I am prepared to accept that having got notification you have contacted the court. The points you were awarded were entirely appropriate.

“But I am prepared to look at the fines because the fines were based on income that you don’t earn.

“Don’t listen to any of your friends that tell you this, that or the other.”

In reply, Cram, who represented himself at South Tyneside Magistrates’ Court: “It was my fault. He’s not a friend anymore.”

The court heard the points and two fines of £440, as well as court costs of £85 and a £66 victim surcharge, were imposed by magistrates in Cram’s absence at a previous hearing.

The fine level was based on a nationally-recognised weekly wage level of £440.

Cram, of Finchale Road, Hebburn, appeared before the court to ask to reopen the case, claiming he earned far less, partly due to coronavirus cuts.

Judge Griffiths agreed to drop his fine to £260 - £130 for each offence – and she limited the victim surcharge to £32.

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