Rangers captain Tavernier ‘vindicated’ after being cleared of dangerous driving

Lawyers for the footballer said he had always believed he had done ‘nothing wrong’.
Rangers captain Tavernier ‘vindicated’ after being cleared of dangerous driving

By Neil Pooran, PA Scotland

The lawyer for Rangers captain James Tavernier said his client feels “completely vindicated” after he was cleared of driving dangerously in Glasgow.

Aamer Anwar said the footballer always believed he had done “nothing wrong” when he was pulled over by police while driving home from Ibrox.

Sheriff McCarron found Tavernier not guilty of a single charge of dangerous driving after a trial lasting several hours at Glasgow Sheriff Court on Monday.

 

Two police officers told the court their vehicle had to travel at speeds of around 80mph in order to catch up with his Porsche 911 along Crown Road and Anniesland Road on April 21, 2021.

However, the sheriff said he was “troubled” by “inconsistencies” in the evidence from the constables.

Following the conclusion of the trial, Mr Anwar gave a statement to reporters and said of his client: “He feels completely vindicated.

“He could have taken the easy option when he was offered a fixed penalty notice, but he believed he did nothing wrong.

“As far as he’s concerned that’s the matter now over. He’s grateful to his legal team.”

Earlier, Tavernier gave evidence in the trial, where he denied driving at excessive speeds.

Under questioning from his defence agent John Scullion KC, the 31-year-old told the court his manager at the time – Steven Gerard – had been in a vehicle travelling behind him when police first noticed his car.

Rangers v Ajax – UEFA Champions League – Group A – Ibrox Stadium
James Tavernier said he always behaved with ‘respect’ when a manager was around (Andrew Milligan/PA)

The Rangers captain told the court he was driving in a “normal manner” when police first saw him.

The Police Scotland constables had said they’d heard loud accelerating noises and saw the Porsche and a Mercedes AMG stop abruptly at traffic lights.

Mr Scullion asked Tavernier how football players behaved around their manager.

Tavernier replied: “With respect. When you’re living your life, on the pitch or off the pitch, you have to set an example.”

He recounted how the two police officers pulled him over and told him they had needed to drive at around 80mph to catch up with him.

The Rangers captain said: “I said that’s not fair because it’s your word against mine.”

When asked why he did not accept the fixed penalty ticket, Tavernier said he believed it was not fair.

Mr Scullion had earlier sought to cast doubt on the version of events from Pc Ross Birrell and Pc Mark Ross.

He suggested it was not possible to have driven at the speeds they suggested without catching up to the Porsche sooner.

He also questioned why CCTV evidence shown to the court did not include footage of the police car, only the footballer’s vehicle.

 

Cross-examining the Rangers captain, Fiscal Depute Gail Campbell said: “Quite simply is it your evidence that the officers today are lying?”

Tavernier said: “It’s my evidence that for the duration of this trip I wasn’t speeding at all.”

After adjourning the case for 10 minutes, Sheriff McCarron said he found Mr Tavernier not guilty of the charge of driving dangerously.

He noted that no evidence had been presented in relation to the speed of Tavernier’s vehicle.

The sheriff said: “In the absence of any information about distance or time at which that happened then I cannot guess what speed you were travelling at.”

He said there were other aspects of the evidence from the police which “troubled” him.

Sheriff McCarron said: “There are inconsistencies that give me cause for hesitation and cause me to have reasonable doubt about the course of events that evening.”

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