David Beckham banned from driving for using mobile phone
10 May 2019 - BBC
David Beckham has been given a six-month driving ban for using his mobile phone while behind the wheel.
The former England captain previously pleaded guilty to using the device while driving his Bentley in central London on 21 November last year.
A court heard he was photographed by a member of the public holding a phone as he drove in "slowly moving" traffic.
Beckham, 44, received six points on his licence to add to the six he already had for previous speeding matters.
He was also fined £750, ordered to pay £100 in prosecution costs and a £75 surcharge fee within seven days.
District Judge Catherine Moore said she acknowledged the slow pace of the traffic but told him there was "no excuse" under the law.
Bromley Magistrates' Court heard Beckham was seen "operating a handheld device at knee level" while driving along Great Portland Street in the West End.
Prosecutor Matthew Spratt said: "Instead of looking straight forward, paying attention to the road he appeared to be looking at his lap."
Beckham's defence barrister Gerrard Tyrrell said the former Manchester United midfielder had "no recollection of the day in question or this particular incident".
He added: "There is no excuse for what took place but his view is that he cannot remember."
Mr Tyrrell told the court that Beckham found driving a relaxing pastime.
"He takes his children to school each day when he can and he picks them up when he can, and actually to deprive them of that is something that he will acknowledge," he said.
Analysis by BBC Reality Check
It's against the law in the UK to hold a phone while driving, although hands-free devices are allowed. It's punishable by six penalty points on your licence and a £200 fine - but, depending on the seriousness of the offence, you can also be taken court to face more severe penalties.
In England and Wales in 2017, there were 8,300 convictions for using a handheld mobile phone whilst driving. Almost all were dealt with through a fine, which averaged out at £180.
Convictions have fallen a lot since their peak of 32,548 in 2010.
Looking at who was convicted, 86% were men and 21% were under 25 years old.
In Scotland in 2017-18 there were 2,881 convictions for the category of "other motor vehicle offences", which covers using a mobile phone and not wearing a seatbelt. Again, almost all were dealt with through fines.
In September, Beckham was accused of "shirking his responsibility" as a role model when he avoided prosecution on a speeding charge because of a technicality.
The father-of-four accepted he drove a loaned Bentley at 59mph in a 40mph zone in west London in January last year.
But his lawyer Nick Freeman - known as Mr Loophole - successfully fought to prevent action being taken because a speeding notice arrived one day late.
In March 2017, the punishment for driving while on the phone was doubled to six penalty points - enough to ban those with less than two years' experience.