Shaun Wright-Phillips avoids jail term for driving while disqualified

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Shaun Wright-Phillips avoids jail term for driving while disqualified

Queens Park Rangers winger Shaun Wright-Phillips has narrowly escaped a custodial sentence for driving while disqualified, after claiming that he wasn't aware he had been banned.

Uxbridge Magistrates' Court heard that the 31-year-old was oblivious to the fact that he shouldn't have been on the road, and that the legal documents banning him from driving had been sent to his agent.

He was banned after missing a series of court summons having been clocked doing 79mph in a 50mph zone in his soft-top Bentley Continental GTC on March 28 last year.

The car was registered to his agent's address in Luton, where the disqualification documents were sent. However, after no response was received, reminders were sent to the former Chelsea player's home in Surrey. He was eventually banned in December 2012.

In court Wright-Phillips denied having seen any of the documents.

He was later arrested in January of this year after a routine traffic check showed that his insurance had been invalidated. He was charged with driving while disqualified and driving without insurance and admitted both offences in court yesterday.

Addressing Magistrates, Wright-Phillips's lawyer Gwyn Lewis – dubbed 'Merlin the Magician' for being able to make cases disappear – said that his client had been 'blissfully unaware' that he was being prosecuted for speeding.

"We will be making a special reasons argument that the defendant shouldn't be endorsed with points, a ban or jail, which would normally be the case," he said.

Magistrates accepted that the player would not have expected to see the correspondence and eventually fined him £800 and ordered him to pay additional costs totaling £165.

Wright-Phillips, who had previously been banned for speeding in 2004, told the court: "From now on I will definitely open the mail even if it is junk."