Ex-Leeds Rhinos coach Brian McDermott escapes driving ban
Jun 29, 2022
Brian McDermott with the Super League trophy. Credit - Leeds Rhinos

Former Leeds Rhinos head coach and Harrogate resident Brian McDermott has escaped a driving ban after arguing he needs his car to scout players.

McDermott, 52, of Knox Mill Close, was in York Magistrates Court yesterday after being caught driving his BMW above the 60mph speed limit on the A59 close to Bolton Abbey last year.

The coach, who also represented England and Great Britain during his playing career, pleaded guilty but asked the court to waive the three points as it would take him to 12 points and an automatic ban.

In a submission to the court, Mr McDermott said he unexpectedly found himself out of work for 18 months after his previous club Toronto Wolfpack went out of business due to covid in March 2020.

During this time he had been living from savings, which were now close to running out.

In October 2021, he took a job as head coach at Featherstone Rovers who play in the second-tier of the sport.

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McDermott said he drives over 40,000 miles a year for the role, which involves work in the community, travelling to amateur clubs and scouting players.

He said he was the only person at Featherstone able to watch players from other clubs.

Without the car, he said he could potentially lose his job, which would mean he’d struggle to pay child support and rent.

Special reasons

Magistrates said they were satisfied that Mr McDermott had ‘special reasons’ for contesting the penalty points. 

However, they said the reasons given were not appropriate “in all of the circumstances” so they issued the three penalty points, taking him to 12 overall, but allowed him to continue driving.

He was also fined £307 and asked to pay a victim’s surcharge of £34 and costs of £85 to the Crown Prosecution Service.

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