A FORMER estate agent dodged a driving ban after claiming it would cause him and his family "exceptional hardship".

Brandon Weston, the former owner of  estate agent Premier Places, found himself in court once again on Monday after he received 12 points on his driving licence, making him eligible for a ban unless he could convince the court he would suffer as a result.

The 45-year-old, of Droitwich Road, Worcester  had to hand over his remaining assets of £11,715 after a criminal compensation hearing last January. He was sentenced to 12 months in jail, suspended for two years, in September 2011 after he admitted four counts of fraud between April 2007 and February 2009.

Weston, who once owned seven houses in the city and a house in France and had stake in Worcester's Glasshouse restaurant, used money paid in for his 203 tenants as deposits to finance other businesses instead of ring-fencing it.

The court heard how Weston was clocked speeding at 45mph in a 30mph in his Ford Focus on the A449 Ombersley Road towards Claines on October 12 last year. He already had nine penalty points on his licence and by admitting speeding he got another three points, making him subject to a ban unless he could convince district judge Nigel Cadbury it would cause him or those close to him exceptional hardship.

Brandon, dressed smartly in a suit, had to give evidence on oath at Worcester Magistrates Court, presenting documents to the judge about the impact a driving ban would have on him and his family.

Because the documents were handed to the judge and not read out in court, your Worcester News cannot give full details of his arguments against the ban.

Weston said: "I think it's all pretty much laid out in the statement your honor. There is nothing else that really needs to be added to that other than to apologise for my actions."
Weston said he now worked as a franchise consultant for a local franchise company. He said: "I do travel quite a lot with my work. That could be done with public transport and a slight change in my role."

Mr Cadbury said: "On the face of it, it's questionable whether this would be exceptional rather than just inconvenient or annoying for everyone." Mr Cadbury said if the ban had an impact on work and family both should be mentioned in his argument. Mr Weston said he used the car to take his children to sporting activities and he did the school run on a Monday and Tuesday evening. He also said he did between 25,000 and 30,000 miles a year with work, seeing various franchisees around the country.

Mr Cadbury, summing up, said: "I'm prepared to conclude it would be exceptional hardship to your family and to yourself for social reasons and work reasons. It is a combination of those factors which would result in exceptional hardship. I will not disqualify you from driving for the reasons I have given - exceptional hardship on your wife and the effect on your two children and also yourself in relation to the risk of losing your job or not being able to do it properly."

He was fined £165 and ordered to pay costs of £60 and a victim surcharge of £20. He was warned that if he committed any more motoring offences which attracted penalty points he would not be able to use the same arguments again.
Mr Cadbury said: "If there's one more slip, you will be disqualified."