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Judge acquits Lamborghini 95mph speeder… because he likes Top Gear

A Perth mechanic gets lucky when the magistrate taking his case identifies his car as Top Gear’s 2006 Car of the Year.

Ironically, police in the UK - where Senior Constable Michael Brent is originally from - are sometimes given Lamborghini Gallardoes to drive.
Ironically, police in the UK - where Senior Constable Michael Brent is originally from - are sometimes given Lamborghini Gallardoes to drive.
Image: Wikimedia Commons

AN AUSTRALIAN MECHANIC enjoyed a lucky judicial escape – when the judge dealing with his speeding offence turned out to be a diehard fan of Top Gear and decided there was no way for a police car to judge his speed.

Leone Magistro (53) was driving at an alleged 155kmh (95 mph) in his canary yellow Lamborghini Gallardo in January, catching the eye of Senior Constable Michael Brent who gave chase.

Sen Const Brent told Perth Magistrates Court that he had tried to give chase in his police car, a Ford Falcon, which struggled to keep pace with Magistro, whose ‘Lambo’ had just been dropped off by a client.

Magistrate Michael Wheeler, however, said the “bog standard” squad car, being so far behind the Lambo, would simply have been unable to give Brent an adequate “guesstimate” of how fast the Magistro was driving.

“With no disrespect to the Ford Falcon could it cut the mustard with the Lamborghini being driven by the accused?” he asked. “It couldn’t even catch my car, in all honesty.”

Before handing down his judgement, however, the appropriately-named Wheeler admitted he was a Top Gear “tragic” and had been forced to disregard his knowledge of how, “in 2006 Top Gear named the Lamborghini Gallardo as the dream car of the year.

“Jeremy Clarkson bought one, in fact, in 2006,” Wheeler offered, awarding Magistro AU$18,000 (€13,000) in costs.

The Judge said he did not imagine the policeman – a British native – would “‘find himself driving a bog standard Ford Falcon when he came to Australia, but” – referring to the accountants behind the police force’s funding models – “I suppose that’s what bean counters do.”

The controversial decision has led the opposition in the West Australian state legislature to call for an increase in police spending, allowing the force to upgrade its apparently unfit cars.

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Gavan Reilly

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