Well this may put a spanner in the works for Amazon Prime’s forthcoming and ridiculously expensive motoring show: Jeremy Clarkson could be facing three years in jail.
Not for punching a man over a hot dinner, but for an illegal switch of number plates during that infamous, Falklands-goading Christmas episode of Top Gear, wherein the presenter drove around Argentina’s southern city of Ushuaia in a red Porsche sporting the number plate H982 FKL.
Prosecutors says the presenter and his crew committed a crime under article 289 of the Argentinian Penal Code, carrying a prison sentence of between six months and three years for those who ‘falsify, alter or suppress the number of an object registered in accordance with the law’.
While the state’s decision to prosecute Clarkson was originally suspended by judge Maria Cristina Barrionuevo, last night the case was reopened, throwing up the very real possibility that Clarkson, Richard Hammond and James May will have to return to the city they fled from after violent protests over the stunt and give evidence in a bid to save their friend from jail.
The court probe was first prompted by a Falklands war veteran named Osvaldo Hillar, who filed an official complaint over the number-plate change on Clarkson’s Porsche and has since been called to give evidence. And now three appeal judges have declared the case reopened at the request of state prosecutor Daniel Curtale.
Unfortunately for the former cast and crew of Top Gear, Argentinian state officials don't appear to be playing around. They've already claimed the digits 269 on the number plate of Richard Hammond’s Ford Mustang were close to the 255 Britons killed during the war, and the numbers 646 on James May’s Lotus a reference to the 649 Argentinian casualties, and will be looking to inflict the severest punishment possible.
Let’s hope they get a slap on the wrists. Or Amazon Prime don’t mind filming some of their new car show in a South American penitentiary.
[Via The Guardian]