A UK police officer busted Lotus CEO Jean-Marc Gales doing 102 miles per hour in a Lotus on the A11 motorway near the carmaker's Hethel HQ. Doing 102 mph in a Lotus isn't a problem. Doing 102 mph in a Lotus in a 70-mph zone, however, is. The even bigger problem for Gales was that according to the sentencing guidelines, the minimum spanking for such hijinks is three points added to the driver's record and a £100 fine. The biggest problem for Gales was that he already had eight points on his license for previous offenses. At 12 points, a UK driver can be banned from driving for six months, and Gales did not want to be one tiny point away from that fate.

Gales could have explained himself in court, but he had his solicitor, Simon Nicholls, do it for him. Nicholls prepared an arcane quodlibet that could be called the "Test Driver Defense." The premise was that as CEO of a sports car company, Gales felt compelled to test drive his company's newest products, and that Gales' hands-on, wide-open-throttle approach to his job is partly "responsible for the remarkable turnaround in the fortunes of the company." As such, it would be "vital" for Gales to continue doing his work, beneficial to the country as it were. The cheekiest bit came when Nicholls said, "Of course [Gales] was driving very carefully but was not driving in accordance with the speed limit," and that sentencing guidelines are "handrails not handcuffs."

The solicitor furthermore suggested that instead of assessing points, the court should issue a 30-day driving ban and a fine. And the court agreed. On top of ordering Gales into the shotgun seat, the magistrate instructed Gales to pay £666, plus £100 for court costs, and £66 for a victim surcharge. That's about $1,400 in US funds, but no points. Then the magistrate said Gales - who wasn't present - should stick to test tracks instead of public roads for his triple-digit duties. The episode proves that Lotus not only knows how to add lightness to cars, it knows how to do the same for justice.

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