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Former Burton MP and criminal barrister Ivan Lawrence caught in no insurance shame

By Burton Mail  |  Posted: July 26, 2014

By Laura Hammond

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FORMER Burton MP Sir Ivan Lawrence faced an embarrassing episode when an oversight left him before the courts.

The well-known barrister, 77, was hauled before the bench to answer charges of driving without insurance in central London after he failed to realise he was not covered on a new car.

He left the courtroom with £525 in fines and costs and six penalty points on his licence, according to reports from the court.

Sir Ivan, who represented Burton in Parliament for more than 20 years, told magistrates he had no idea he would not have been covered, when he appeared in court this week.

He told the Mail: "The reputable dealer who sold me the car said the law had recently changed and no longer did the DVLA take a week to process the papers because it was all computerised. It means they no longer have to extend cover for seven days.

"The man said he was very sorry but he was so busy he forgot to tell me I needed immediate cover.

"I can only hope that people may learn from my own unhappy experience and make sure that they take out immediate cover for the second hand car they buy."

Sir Ivan was stopped by police on a bank holiday weekend in May.

He described the experience as 'very embarrassing', but said neither he nor other members of his London chambers had been aware of the change in the law.

He had presumed the old system was still in place, he said.

According to the AA, car dealerships which sell second hand cars are under no obligation to provide a grace period of insurance cover.

The QC, who sat in Margaret Thatcher's Conservative Government, lost his seat to Labour's Janet Dean when Tony Blair became Prime Minister in 1997.

In his legal career he has defended in more than 85 murder trials, appearing in a number of high profile cases.

He was involved with the Kray brothers' trial, serial killer Denis Nilsen, Russell Bishop, known for the Brighton Babes in the Wood murder, the Mountnessing silver bullion robbery, the Brinks Mat gold bullion money-laundering, and a mass-murder war crimes trial at the Hague.

Since leaving Parliament, he has released his memoirs, touching on some of the cases he has been involved with, called My Life of Crime: cases and causes.

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