Actor in clear over driver ID

Date published: 12 April 2011

A JUDGE has slammed the speeding penalty process which landed local Shameless star Gerard Kearns in court.

Kearns (26), who played Ian Gallagher in the hit Channel 4 drama, had pleaded not guilty in January this year to failing to identify the driver of a Volkswagen Tiguan involved in an alleged driving offence in Manchester last year.

Standing trial at Oldham Magistrates court yesterday, he told the court how both he and his actress partner, Sarah Patel, had driven to work that day but neither were sure they had been driving that car at the time of the speeding offence.

The couple own the VW Tiguan diesel and a petrol Ford Fiesta but did not know who had been in which car.

Mr Kearns, originally from Mossley but now living in Bolton, said when a letter arrived in August, 2010, asking him to identify the driver, he originally named his partner.

He said they had checked bank statements for items such as petrol or diesel receipts, or car parking tickets for that day, but could not find any clues.

He said: “I wasn’t sure it was me but the only person it could be was Sarah. If you weren’t the driver or weren’t sure, you had to put someone else down by law.”

In September his partner received an identification letter so she said the driver was Mr Kearns.

Mr Kearns responded to further letters by saying he was unable to identify the driver and requesting a photo of the alleged offence.

He said: “If I’d put Sarah’s name down we would have been going round in circles. I felt I had to move it forward by putting I was unable to identify the driver or it would have been delaying the procedure.”

Mr Kearns denied prosecution claims that the couple were trying to confuse the system by blaming each other.

District Judge James Prowse ruled in Mr Kearns’s favour and awarded him costs.

He said there was nothing in the current forms that allow a person to say they are unsure of the driver’s identity.

He said: “It’s an official form and it doesn’t provide a means of saying what you want to say. You think ‘I’m going to get into trouble if I don’t put on anything,’ so you do. He puts the next best thing and says ‘I don’t know’.

He added: “I believe every word he told me, they did their level best to work out who it was.”