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Caught at night by a mobile unit...does a black picture prove guilt?
rjwill10
post Tue, 10 Jul 2018 - 18:35
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Hi, thank you in advance for looking at this.

Essentially, I received a NIP (in Wales) which advised of an alleged offence of speeding at 8pm on a February evening in the pitch black. The vehicle was doing 35 in a 30.

I genuinely do not know who was driving the vehicle, as me and my GF had both driven the vehicle within a 30min window, and can't pinpoint which of us it was. I requested further evidence from the police to try and ID the driver. The evidence was delivered promptly, however, the image they provided did not show my, or any other, vehicle committing the alleged offence.

They evidence they have presented shows headlights in an otherwise black background, 600 odd feet away from the enforcement unit. The image shows absolutely nothing that can identify my vehicle, you can't even see the angel eyes of my BMW. They have then produced an image of my vehicle which was taken 14 seconds after the alleged offence had taken place, and claim this is sufficient evidence. The second image has no speed or distance information, so was not committing any offences.

I am not satisfied that they have proven beyond reasonable doubt that my vehicle committed the alleged offence, as anything could have happened in that 14 second period, including the offending vehicle pulling over or turning. If I had pulled over before reaching the vehicle, they would not have been able to identify my vehicle.

I responded to the letters asking for further evidence and putting into doubt the involvement of my vehicle. I also failed to complete the NIP as I cannot identify the driver. I provided the name of the two potential drivers and advised that I would not risk being prosecuted for providing false information by making a 50/50 guess.

I have now received notice that the case will go to court, and have been asked to set a plea. I believe their request for information is not valid as they have not proven the involvement of my vehicle.

Has anyone got experience of defending a case such as this based on insufficient evidence? I know the failing to furnish bit has been discussed countless times and is turning into a losing battle for the defendant.
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post Tue, 10 Jul 2018 - 18:35
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peterguk
post Wed, 11 Jul 2018 - 07:48
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QUOTE (rjwill10 @ Wed, 11 Jul 2018 - 08:29) *
I did look at the S172, but it wasn't obvious how I could say that I did not know who was driving?


If it offered that option, everyone would tick the "no idea who was driving" hoping to get away with the allegation.

If, as you suggest, they made an error identifying the car, don't you think it's a massive coincidence they chose at random a car registration which happens to match your vehicle's make, model and colour, and happened to be in the area at the time?


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Jlc
post Wed, 11 Jul 2018 - 08:56
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You have two (sensible) choices.

1. Either accept it was you most likely driving and perform a 'plea bargain' - that is to accept the speeding charge if they agree to drop the s172 charge.

2. Maintain that you did not know who was driving and could not with reasonable diligence identify them. The speeding charge itself cannot be convicted. The matter would be convincing the Mag's of the multiple journeys and timings etc.

The former has a fairly known outcome, the latter has the potential for 6 points and a bill over £1k - or complete acquittal...

You don't have an option to 'fight' on the basis the car wasn't speeding or it wasn't the car at all.

QUOTE (rjwill10 @ Wed, 11 Jul 2018 - 08:29) *
I spoke to the Mrs at length because I thought she might have done it, but she was adamant that she had not sped, and so am I. this is why I think they have made an error with identifying the car.

Many don't regard 35 in a 30 as 'speeding' - and is often a normal speed I see people travel on such roads. It's also possible the driver thought the limit was 40...

This post has been edited by Jlc: Wed, 11 Jul 2018 - 09:01


--------------------
RK=Registered Keeper, OP=Original Poster (You!), CoFP=Conditional Offer of Fixed Penalty, NtK=Notice to Keeper, NtD=Notice to Driver
PoFA=Protection of Freedoms Act, SAC=Safety Awareness Course, NIP=Notice of Intended Prosecution, ADR=Alternative Dispute Resolution
PPC=Private Parking Company, LBCCC=Letter Before County Court Claim, PII=Personally Identifiable Information

Private Parking - remember, they just want your money and will say almost anything to get it.
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notmeatloaf
post Wed, 11 Jul 2018 - 10:10
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There isn't an option in S172 for unsure between two drivers because, as NewJudge says it is by definition a failure to comply with S172. So you they are relying on one of the statutory defences, with the slight advantage that you responded rather than not responding at all.

Do neither of you have an Android or iPhone with location tracking? This is enabled by default at least on Android and you can check back now.

Otherwise as Jlc said you are on doubles or quits but with the risk of circa £1000, 6pts and a sharp increase in insurance premiums if convicted of the S172.
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NewJudge
post Wed, 11 Jul 2018 - 10:29
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If it was me I would take "option 1" from jlc's suggestions. You have been "dual charged" which makes this a possibility. To do this you need to plead Not Guilty to both charges. Your case will be listed for trial (though there may be a preliminary hearing beforehand). You need to attend court, seek out the prosecutor and offer to plead guilty to the speeding charge on the understanding that the S172 charge is dropped. Although you have already declared that you did not know who was driving, your offer should be readily accepted.

Defending a S172 charge on the basis that two people could not work out who was driving is notoriously difficult. It can be done:

https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/1447758/Ha...eding-fine.html

But such successes are few and far between. if it was easy everybody would do it.

This post has been edited by NewJudge: Wed, 11 Jul 2018 - 10:30
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Jlc
post Wed, 11 Jul 2018 - 10:40
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There was a recent case on here too.


--------------------
RK=Registered Keeper, OP=Original Poster (You!), CoFP=Conditional Offer of Fixed Penalty, NtK=Notice to Keeper, NtD=Notice to Driver
PoFA=Protection of Freedoms Act, SAC=Safety Awareness Course, NIP=Notice of Intended Prosecution, ADR=Alternative Dispute Resolution
PPC=Private Parking Company, LBCCC=Letter Before County Court Claim, PII=Personally Identifiable Information

Private Parking - remember, they just want your money and will say almost anything to get it.
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notmeatloaf
post Wed, 11 Jul 2018 - 13:03
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The Hamilton case in 2003 was anecdotally what lead to the "reasonable diligence" bar being raised to a height that precluded all but the most diligent motorists.

Their tale, or the press interpretation of it, gave the impression that you could just rock up in court and plead ignorance and you'd get off, no questions asked.
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