A JUDGE called a driver accused of speeding in Worcester and told him the least he could do was turn up to his own appeal.

Judge Nicolas Cartwright, sitting with a magistrate, telephoned Michael McDonagh when the appellant did not turn up at Worcester Crown Court yesterday. The 31-year-old was due in court for an appeal against conviction for failing to provide details of a driver suspected of an offence. A van registered to Mr McDonagh was clocked speeding on the A44 New Road, Worcester at 10.54am on February 13 last year. Judge Cartwright told the appellant that he could not hear evidence ‘over the telephone’ and offered Mr McDonagh four different dates when the appeal could next be heard, telling him he had to come to court in person.

Mr McDonagh said he had not received notice of the hearing. The appellant of Banbridge, Northern Ireland said he was in Newcastle Upon Tyne when he took the call from the judge. Mr McDonagh, who intends to pursue the appeal, said the address in Northern Ireland was only a ‘care of’ address and that he was ‘not guaranteed to get post all the time’. But the judge, who was satisfied that the Crown had served the relevant documentation, told him: “That is more an issue for you than for the court.”

Judge Cartwright noted that Mr McDonagh was plainly receiving some post at that address because he had attended Worcester Magistrates Court on February 5. There Mr McDonagh, a totter with more than 12 points on his licence, successfully argued that a driving ban would cause ‘exceptional hardship’. He convinced magistrates he needed his licence to take his father to medical appointments. Because of the appeal, Mr McDonagh was informed that that exceptional hardship argument would have to be heard ‘all over again’. The judge urged Mr McDonagh to seek legal advice as soon as possible. An hour had been set aside for the hearing. Judge Cartwright told the appellant: “If you want us to hear your appeal then the very least you can do is turn up.”

A new date was set of May 7 after Mr McDonagh said he could not attend earlier dates suggested by the court. Judge Cartwright made no order for wasted costs but warned Mr McDonagh that he would be liable for costs if he did not attend the next hearing, urging him to notify the court if he planned to abandon his appeal in the meantime.