A 30-year-old Frenchman convicted of damaging a Cirencester taxi driver's cab has been cleared by an appeal court judge who ruled the case had taken far too long to bring to court.

At Cheltenham Magistrates Court last August, Roman Esteban, of Adelaide Square, Windsor, was found guilty of damaging the bonnet and interior lighter of an Audi A6 in Cirencester on July 12, 2018.

He was ordered to pay £1,245.62 compensation for the damage to the taxi, £775 prosecution costs and a £20 surcharge.

But Mr Esteban appealed against the conviction to Gloucester Crown Court, sitting in Cirencester on January 28, and was successful.

His solicitor Joe Maloney argued that there had been a legal abuse of process in the delay getting the case to court and Judge Ian Lawrie QC, sitting with two JPs, agreed.

Mr Maloney pointed out that although the alleged offence had taken place on the night of July 12/13, 2018, Mr Esteban had not been summonsed until January 2020, a year and a half later.

Judge Lawrie asked if there was any explanation for the lengthy delay but was not given one.

He said the delay amounted to an abuse of process so the charge should be stayed and the magistrates court decision set aside.

There had been a 'failure in the system that was impossible to ignore,' the judge added. No explanation had been put forward for the undue delay in progressing the case and the system had 'failed all parties,' he said.

Mr Maloney asked for Mr Esteban to be paid his legal costs and expenses of £1,500 plus VAT and the judge asked him to submit a written application within fourteen days.

Mr Esteban will also be repaid any money he has already paid towards the penalty and costs imposed by the court.