Trucker rejects TV-watching claim

A truck driver who claimed he felt pressured to plead guilty to a charge of dangerous driving has had his request to change the plea to "not guilty" rejected.

Benjamin Trotsman, 37, of Bridgnorth in Shropshire, is accused of watching a television show while driving a 38-ton lorry on the M6 in Cumbria.

His erratic driving was reported to police by a concerned lorry driver who saw the truck veering across the carriageway over a 25-mile stretch of the motorway between Kendal and Penrith.

Officers caught up with Mr Trotsman near Penrith where they examined a laptop computer on his dashboard and found that he appeared to have been watching episodes of Battlestar Galactica.

The defendant pleaded guilty to driving dangerously at Penrith Magistrates' Court on August 22, but later requested to vacate his plea and enter a "not guilty" plea.

Mr Trotsman's solicitor claimed his client was using the laptop as a satellite navigation device and was looking at "a Google map or whatever" at the time of the alleged offence.

However, presiding magistrate Nick Swinscoe said he was satisfied that the defendant understood the consequences of pleading guilty and rejected the application.

Mr Trotsman will appear for sentencing at the same court on October 3.

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