The former England and Chelsea footballer Frank Lampard has escaped a charge of using a mobile phone while driving, after a case against him was dropped.
The 43-year-old, who is also a former Chelsea manager, was filmed behind the wheel of his car in traffic in South Kensington, 西ロンドン, last April by a cycling campaigner.
Lampard pleaded not guilty to the charge after hiring the solicitor Nick Freeman to fight his case. フリーマン, also known as Mr Loophole, specialises in defending celebrities in traffic and speeding offences.
Lampard denied using his mobile phone while driving his Mercedes. On Monday the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) confirmed the case would be dropped due to lack of evidence.
A CPS spokesperson said: “After examining a file of evidence submitted by the Metropolitan police service, we concluded, in accordance with our legal test, there was insufficient evidence to provide a realistic prospect of conviction.”
The Dutch YouTuber Mike van Erp – known as CyclingMikey – claimed he spotted Lampard chatting on his phone while holding a cup of coffee and controlling the steering wheel with his wrist.
Van Erp, who had been due to appear as a witness at City of London magistrates court, was told last week his presence was no longer required.
Speaking to Road.cc, 彼は言った: “I think he’s gotten off scot-free as the case was discontinued. A couple of coppers have said the justice system is broken and they are binning cases left and right to reduce the massive backlog.”
At the time of the alleged offence Van Erp was quoted in the Evening Standard as saying he was “pretty disgusted” with Lampard’s driving.
彼は言った: “I was cycling southbound on Gloucester Road and caught up to queuing traffic in both directions near the Gloucester Arms. I noticed this driver of a black Mercedes 4×4 holding a coffee in his right hand, and a phone in his left. I could see him talking on the phone … whilst resting his right inside wrist on the steering wheel.”
Previous footage from Van Erp, who rides with a helmet-mounted GoPro camera, led to the prosecution of the former world champion boxer Chris Eubank after he jumped a red light in Hyde Park in his gold Rolls-Royce convertible last year.
And his video of the film director Guy Ritchie, seen driving while using his phone in 2020, led to a six-month driving ban.
Speaking after the trial, Van Erp said his video showed Lampard with a coffee and a phone.
“I filmed him from the passenger side holding a phone up in his left hand … He had a coffee in his right hand and he was steering either with his wrist or the lower part of his palm.
“I then made a mistake, but I only knew that in hindsight, I went back round to the driver’s side to try to get a better shot, but then the traffic cleared and he moved off.”
In the video Van Erp can be heard calling Lampard a “dipstick”.
He said his video evidence had led to 815 successful driving prosecutions in the past three years.
“I accept my mistake in not staying by the passenger window and not getting sufficient evidence," 彼は言った. “I accept that it was a little borderline for what the law requires, but the current mobile phone laws are a bit of a farce which is why they are about to be changed to make it harder to drive while using a phone.”