For a criminal law blog, Carlos Tevez is the gift that keeps on giving – from his creative ‘defence’ to why he didn’t reply to letters from the police (he didn’t know what ‘constabulary’ is) that lead to him getting disqualified from driving to the awkward fact of him being caught driving pretty soon after, but managing to keep out of prison, getting a Community Order instead.
Well, although he hasn’t completed a huge amount of the 250 hours of unpaid work, he’s gone off to Court and got the Community Order replaced with a fine of £3,000 (not a huge amount considering the £12 million that Juventus paid for him).
And it’s Mr Tevez desire to leave Manchester that lead to this application. Whilst both delightful places, Turin is quite a long way from Macclesfield and so his lawyers applied to the Court to revoke the Community Order and replace it with a fine to allow him to go and live in Italy
The legal basis for the application is s13 Schedule 8 Criminal Justice Act 2003. This reads “on the application of the offender or the responsible officer it appears to the appropriate magistrates’ court that, having regard to circumstances which have arisen since the order was made, it would be in the interests of justice [for the order to be revoked completely, or for the offender to be revoked and re-sentenced”. There is no real guidance, other than saying that the Court should take how much compliance with the order there has been.
In fairness, the Court were faced with a difficult exercise. On the one hand they don’t want to show favour to a footballer or give the idea that someone can buy their way out of their just deserts. On the other, the reality is that there is no real harm in Mr Tevez moving to Italy – he’s not a violent person, and a Court wouldn’t want to block a multi-million pound business transaction.
A good question is what would happen if it wasn’t a famous footballer. I would imagine that if someone in Mr Tevez circumstances found a job abroad, the Court would endorse it (having a job is one of the best ways to lower recidivism).
But, given that there were 222 hours left, the fine works out at about £13.50 per hour. Not a bad rate for a legal aid lawyer, but I would suggest that Mr Tevez could probably have afforded a bit more than that … (in fairness, the maximum sentence is £5,000 and they gave credit for a guilty plea – although I think that they would have been entitled to fine him the maximum).