Record UK speeding fine of £96k handed to star footballer reduced to £2k after magistrates error

Yohannes Lowe
Mario Lemina, a Southampton Football Club midfielder, had a record UK speeding fine reduced after a blunder was made by magistrates. - Southampton FC

A leading Premier League footballer who was given a  UK record speeding fine has had it reduced from £96,000 to £2000 after a magistrates error.

Mario Lemina, a Southampton Football Club midfielder, was handed 18 points after his £50,000 Mercedes was caught breaking the speed limit three times.

Lemina, 25, who already had 21 points on his licence, was ordered by Aldershot Magistrates’ Court to pay £96,425, the biggest fine ever given for a motoring offence in the UK.

The footballer, of Ashley Heath, Dorset, admitted to three counts of failing to identify the driver of a car and the three charges of speeding were dropped.

However, only days after the fine was ordered, it emerged that the court had sentenced him under the guidelines for the wrong charge.

It is understood that the footballer was fined in relation to the guidelines for speeding offences rather than the guidelines for failing to identify the driver of a car, an offence for which there is a fixed limit.

This means that the Gabonese player must pay just £2,301, only seven per cent of his £32,272 weekly wage.

The mistake means that the 25-year-old must pay just £2,301, only seven per cent of his £32,272 weekly wage. Credit: Christopher Lee/Getty

Since April 2017, those caught driving at excessive speeds can be being fined up to 150 per cent of their weekly income.

The court’s suspected mistake also means that the title for the UK’s heftiest motoring fine goes back to TV presenter Ant McPartlin, who was fined £86,000 for drink driving in April.

Aldershot Magistrates Court also heard that the former Juventus player had family visiting throughout the time of the offences and was not sure if it was he who was behind the wheel.

Leminna, who failed to reply to letters sent by the Hampshire Constabulary asking him to identify the driver of the Mercedes, did not appear in court and instead relied on his lawyer to enter his pleas.

Cliff Morris said: "He didn't realise the importance of the forms.English is not his first language, and his English is not particularly good. "He is not sure if his brother or his cousin was driving the vehicle at the time and the photographs don't assist with this. He thought it best to plead guilty to failing to provide identification.”