A MAGISTRATE who was a Tory candidate in this year’s European elections has admitted driving at 90mph in his Jaguar XJ coupe.

John Flack, 52, pleaded guilty at Southend Magistrates’ Court to speeding on the A120 near Great Dunmow on September 21 last year.

The property company boss originally planned to contest the charge, but on the day of the case, changed his plea.

The court was told Flack’s speed was clocked by a traffic patrolman, using a hand-held laser speed gun, as 101mph.

Flack refused to accept the reading, but admitted doing 90mph. After a total of 11 hearings, the prosecution finally agreed to accept a guilty plea on that basis.

Prosecuting, Bob Rawlingson told the court after being stopped, Flack told the patrolman: “Well, I am a magistrate and you have lost me my position on the bench.”

He added Flack had reportedly told the officer he disputed the 101mph reading, saying it was more like 96mph.

Traffic officer PC Fergus Morrison, of Dunmow police, told the court he visually estimated the vehicle was doing at at least 90mph on the 70mph-limited dual-carriageway.

He then used the laser gun and pulled Flack over.

Flack’s lawyer, Michael Shrimpton, suggested: “In reality, 90 on the speedo, would be showing at about 95 – it usually shows 5 to 10 per cent over.”

His client had since sold the Jaguar, he said. He now drove a Volvo, which Mr Shrimpton claimed was probably incapable of high speeds.

Sentencing, deputy district judge Roderick Hine, told Flack: “You have been in this position where I am sitting for a number of years and I don’t need to lecture you.

“I hope you take the view what I am going to do is a fair outcome.”

He gave Flack a £90 fine, three penalty points on his licence, and ordered him to pay £15 victim surcharge. He also ordered £310 in court costs.

Flack, of Bran End, Stebbing, near Braintree, stood as a Tory MEP candidate for the Eastern region in June’s European elections, but was not elected.

He had served as a magistrate since 1988, having been the youngest in Essex when he was appointed. He had presided as a bench chairman since 1994.

Speaking after the hearing, Flack’s solicitor, Steve Mynard, said: “My client is very happy the court decided to agree with what he said to the officer at the scene many months ago, although he regrets exceeding the speed limit.”

It was not stated in court whether Mr Flack was still serving as a magistrate.