Prominent businessman fined for speeding

AN IPSWICH businessman who has built a successful career in the motor insurance trade is today £1,250 out of pocket after he was caught driving at more than 100mph.

AN IPSWICH businessman who has built a successful career in the motor insurance trade is today £1,250 out of pocket after he was caught driving at more than 100mph.

Graeme Kalbraier, managing director of insurance call handling company Call Connection, in Cromwell Square, claimed the police officer following him had confused his car with another when he drove over a hill.

After magistrates found him guilty yesterday the well-known businessman said: “I accept the decision made by the court but feel the methods used to lead to this kind of prosecution must be under some question, especially as it took the magistrates some time to make their decision.”

It was at 1pm on September 9 last year when Kalbraier, of The Street, Little Bealings, was caught driving his new Lexus, which he had just picked up from the showroom, at 104mph along the A12 near to the town.

He pleaded not guilty to a charge of speeding and stood trial at South East Suffolk Magistrates' Court on Friday.

The court heard police sergeant John Hawkes was driving an unmarked police car to the force headquarters in Martlesham after a meeting in Ipswich when he saw a car accelerate at a fast speed.

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During the trial Mr Hawkes said: “You could see the driver of the vehicle was up for it. I was aware that this was a motorist who we were going to get a speeding conviction out of.”

Mr Hawkes, who has been an officer for 17 years and has served the last three years on the traffic unit, started to videotape the car in front of him.

Soon afterwards Mr Hawkes drove over a hill and lost sight of the car in front which he had been unable to get the number plate of.

Mr Hawkes said he knew which car it was because it was an unusual make which he did not see many of and it had a distinctive bumper.

But Martyn Levett, representing Kalbraier, suggested to the court it was a mix-up between two different cars and it had not been Kalbraier who had been driving at 104mph.

Mr Levett said: “I am going to suggest that you were hell bent on getting this conviction.”

Kalbraier, 51, told the court he had been driving his new car home from a Lexus showroom at Ransomes Europark.

He said: “I am not a confident driver, in fact I do not like driving. I was getting used to a new car.

“I don't make a habit out of being stopped by the police.”

But Helen Booth, prosecuting, suggested to the court Kalbraier had been trying out his new car to see what speed it would do.

After almost two hours of deliberating, magistrate Jane Fiske, chairman of the bench, found Kalbraier guilty and fined him £800.

She also ordered him to pay £450 court costs and gave him six penalty points.

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