Supply teacher fails to overturn driving ban he says will cause pupils ‘exceptional hardship’

The A47 near Dereham. Picture: Matthew Usher.

The A47 near Dereham. Picture: Matthew Usher. - Credit: Matthew Usher

A supply teacher caught speeding on the A47 has argued that a driving ban would cause Norfolk school children to face exceptional hardship.

Peter Lacey-Hasting received three points on his licence for driving at 79mph on a 70mph stretch of the dual carriageway near Dereham on June 14 last year.

He was disqualified from driving for six months at Norwich Magistrates' Court on May 14 this year, having already accumulated nine points since 2015.

But on Friday, July 12, the 61-year-old appeared at Norwich Crown Court to appeal the ban on the basis of exceptional hardship for the pupils he sometimes teaches.

William Powell, representing Lacey-Hasting, said: "The effect of the six month ban is to cut him out of the long autumn term.

"If he is not available, and the other teachers on the panel are not available, it will be the case that children in schools will be without a teacher on the days he will not be available."

The court heard how Lacey-Hasting, of The Common, Mulbarton, works for a company that supplies teachers throughout Norfolk.

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Mr Powell said the firm only has a limited panel of teachers and Lacey-Hasting will often get calls at 7am asking if he can cover for that day.

Giving evidence, Lacey-Hasting said: "There have been occasions where I have said to the supply agency I have a few things on, and said if you can find someone else [another supply teacher] then great, but if you can't, please get back to me.

"They will say we have already tried three to four other people, so at that point I have to rejig my day."

Mr Powell said there was a "teacher shortage" and that it was "difficult" to fill last-minute slots in rural schools.

But prosecutor Faye Rolfe said the company he works for cannot be the only one supplying teachers in Norfolk.

She said: "He makes the basis that he will not be in hardship, but the children and the county will.

"The argument that he is an absolute core service is not sustainable and is not enough to meet the high hurdle of exceptional hardship."

The court heard that on the day of the speeding offence, Lacey-Hasting had been working at a small rural school near Fakenham and was returning for a doctor's appointment.

Mr Powell said: "It was going to be a tight run, he was running late because a parent at the school had asked to see him at the end of the school day and that took longer than expected."

His case was dealt with through the single justice procedure at Norwich's magistrates' court, which meant he was not present for the hearing and unable to provide a defence.

However his driving ban was suspended when he appealed the decision.

Judge Andrew Shaw said: "We are not satisfied he [Lacey-Hasting] has come anywhere close to establishing exceptional hardship."

The appeal was dismissed and he must pay £260 in costs. The six month disqualification was imposed by the court.