Motorcycle racer turned TV celebrity Guy Martin will no longer face Lincoln Crown Court for possessing a fake driving licence after the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) dramatically dropped the case against him just days before his trial.
Martin, 38, who combines his television career with working as a lorry mechanic, was accused of possession of a fake Irish licence and using it to alter his genuine UK licence to allow him to drive HGVs.
But the charges against Martin were dramatically dropped on Christmas Eve after a court heard the former Isle of Man TT rider does not always apply common sense and may have been taken in because he was vulnerable.
The case had hung over the popular TV star for over a year and Martin was scheduled to face a three day jury trial starting at Lincoln Crown Court on Monday, January 6.
However, after reconsidering the case following psychiatric evidence, the Crown Prosecution Service offered no evidence against Martin and he was formally acquitted.
Guy Martin, of Barnetby, Lincolnshire, had denied possession of a document with intent to deceive between December 4, 2017 and May15, 2018 relating to “a document so closely resembling an Irish driving licence as to be calculated to deceive”.
He also denied that between March 1 and May 15, 2018 he made a false statement by claiming he was the holder of an Irish driving licence, entitling him to drive certain categories of vehicles for the purpose of obtaining a British licence to drive some categories of vehicles.
Martin, from North Lincolnshire, had always said that he believed he passed a test while working in Northern Ireland and subsequently received a licence which he believed was genuine.
Judge Simon Hirst, sitting at Lincoln Crown Court, said “There have been some medical reports submitted. The prosecution accept that it is conceivable that Mr Martin did think this was a genuine licence.
“On the Crown offering no evidence, I therefore enter not guilty verdicts in respect of both matters in respect of Mr Guy Martin.”
Martin was excused attendance and was not present at the brief hearing on Christmas Eve when the decision not to proceed was announced.
Michael Cranmer-Brown, explaining the reasoning for the decision, said that psychiatrists who examined Martin on behalf of the defence and the prosecution both came to the same conclusion.
He said “There have been two psychiatrists who have seen Mr Martin. The first, instructed by the defence and agreed by the prosecution, said that he does not always apply what others may refer to as common sense. He has a vulnerability to take what people say at face value.”
Mr Cranmer-Brown said that Martin’s autism also made him “vulnerable enough for others to see him as an easy target”.
He added “It may well be that he was taken in by somebody. We therefore accept that he didn’t possess that document with intent to deceive.”
Explaining the original basis for bringing the prosecution , Mr Cranmer-Brown said “The defendant’s UK driving licence and what purported to be an Eire driving licence were submitted on his behalf to the DVLA here in the UK for the entitlement of the Eire licence to be added to the UK licence for reasons that were to do with his work.
“It turned out that the Eire licence which had an entitlement for him to drive HGVs was in fact a fake licence. It came to the attention of the authorities that it was problematic.
“A check showed there were no records of a Guy Martin with the equivalent of the DVLA in Eire and the driving licence number related to a different person.
“When he was interviewed the defendant gave an explanation that at first blush seemed hard to accept.”
Simon Davis, representing Guy Martin, told the court “I say nothing about the facts as instructed to do so. Although the decision is made late in the day, thankfully it is made in advance of the trial date.”
Martin has been given three months to reclaim any travel costs he incurred as a result of the proceedings. He made no application to recover his legal costs.
Martin took up motorcycle racing as a teenager and went on to compete in the Isle of Man TT races, Ulster Grand Prix races and British superbikes.
He went on to build a career in television with series on engineering such as BBC1’s The Boat That Guy Built and How Britain Worked shown on Channel 4. In recent times he replicated the motorcycle jump made famous by Steve McQueen in the Great Escape.
He announced his retirement from motorcycle racing in 2017 but made a winning return in May 2019 by taking victory in a 1000cc classic race at the Tandragee 100 in Ireland.
Martin also recently set a new world record for the fastest tractor and holds a number of other speed records including the fastest speed on a Wall of Death ride and the fastest speed in a soapbox.