Eden Project founder banned from driving after appeal overturned

Sir Tim Smit, founder of Cornwall's Eden Project, has been banned from driving.

The founder of Cornwall’s Eden Project has been banned from driving after his appeal was overturned.

Sir Tim Smit had successfully appealed against a driving ban in February after being caught speeding for the sixth times in three-and-a-half years.

The 66-year-old told Truro Crown Court a ban would cause “exceptional hardship” to his ill father and step-mum, who rely on him to care for their complex needs.

But after his appeal was granted, it emerged Smit had used the same mitigation to appeal a previous ban in 2018.

Smit founded the Eden Project in 2001.

Using the same exceptional hardship mitigation in two separate cases is not permitted under the Road Traffic Offences Act, and so Smit’s appeal was dismissed.

At the most recent hearing, Smit said his parents’ health had worsened since 2018 and apologised for not bringing the matter to the court’s attention.

He added what he did was in no way an attempt to deliberately mislead the court.

‘Utterly inexplicable’

Judge Robert Linford said it was “utterly inexplicable” Smit was unaware he had used the mitigation previously.

“We (Judge Linford and the magistrates who also heard the appeal) are clear and unanimous in the view that this argument has been argued before and then put back before the court. 

“The argument cannot be advanced again so the appeal is dismissed.

“We reject out of hand the appellant’s assertion he did not know he wasn’t able to put the same exceptional hardship argument forward again and this is potentially a deliberate attempt to mislead us.”

Smit has now been banned from driving for six months, with Judge Linford adding he will send the case’s transcripts to higher powers.

Speaking after the ban was issued, Smit told ITV News West Country: "I apologised to the court for unintentionally misleading them by using an argument based on my elderly parents' ill health that the law prevented me from doing, as I’d used it two years ago.

"Only I was unaware that this was the case. Ignorance is no excuse and I accept that I was therefore at fault. However, my motivation was not and would never have been to mislead the court."

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