Carlos Tevez's Community Order quashed – fine?

Carlos Tevez's Community Order quashed – fine?



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).



Dan is a barrister at 2 Dr. Johnson’s Buildings practising in crime.


  1. Not only does the law require that credit be given for the guilty plea, but that the hours already worked by Mr Tevez be discounted too. So £3,000 looks a pretty spot-on calculation according to the Guidelines. The surprising thing (and the one way of reducing the incidence of ‘no insurance’ cases) is that Manchester Police didn’t seize and crush or otherwise dispose of (i.e. sell) his Porsche, valued according to his lawyers at £55,000. The court could also have ordered the destruction of the car, but as the DJ(MC) – rightly – pointed out, that would have been frankly disproportionate in the circumstances, especially as he had not been hauled back to court following a further offence, but rather seeking to find a workable alternative. The only slight query I would have surrounds the court’s decision not to mark the breach of the Community Order by imposing a separate penalty (that of not notifying his move to Italy & Juve). But under LASPO, greater discretion is granted to the court in this respect, and I very much doubt whether any other magistrates’ court would have added a separate penalty, rather they would – as the DJ(MC) here appears to have done – have lumped it in with the rest.

    This does open up again the whole question of the overall proportionality of sentencing, and especially of financial penalties. Whilst a case can be made that there’s little ‘incentive’ for low earners or those on benefits to get insurance, say, given the relative fine and premium levels, even the guideline fines plus costs and victim surcharge add up to at the very least a couple of weeks’ wages/benefits. If a defendant doesn’t provide a means form, the relevant weekly income is deemed to be £400. If one earns more, there isn’t much interest in declaring it! And even where courts know that the offender’s income is significantly greater, they are still bound by the proportionality principle and the statutory maxima.

  2. You can’t fine a man the maximum who pleaded guilty and has done some of the unpaid work.

    I would have given him an SSO with an unpaid work requirement but I don’t suppose it would have made any difference.

    I will readily end unpaid work for a customer who is not working and gets a more lowly and less prestigious job in the UK – work is better than not-work.

  3. No, he should do the unpaid work. This cocks a snook at the law. If he has to miss training, or a match or two, so be it. He would have to do so if he was injured or suspended.

  4. Rather late, but the court is required to have regards to the compatibility of the order with the defendant’s employment. Had they not taken it in to account, the court, not Mr Tevez, would have been cocking a snook at the law. They would also probably not have been upheld on appeal.