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Incorrectly accused of using mobile phone whilst driving.
JC21
post Tue, 28 Mar 2017 - 15:55
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Good evening. Was hoping to receive some advice from somebody who has experienced this or has any knowledge they may wish to share. I apologise for the longish post and appreciate anybody taking the time to read through and comment.

Three weeks ago my wife returned from the supermarket and said "you won't believe what's just happened to me". A police car had followed her into the car park of Morrisons and flagged her down with the usual do you know why you have been stopped?

The events and salient points are as follows.

The officer then advised her that he had seen her using her mobile phone whilst driving and had video evidence of this and the he was going to issue a ticket accordingly which he did at the roadside.

When my wife denied this the officer explained that the he had seen her move her hand from the side of her head quickly and that was what raised his suspicion.

My wife explained that her phone was in her bag and that she hadn't been using it, my daughter had her own phone in her hand (aged 15 social media addict what more can I say).

A long conversation ensued and the officer perfectly politely advised my wife that the recording of the alleged offence would be reviewed and if indeed as she claimed she was simply pushing her hair back over her ear (as she was) then no further action would be taken. My wife asked to see the evidence on the video and the office returned to his car and spoke to a colleague but then said that as it was recorded on a body cam that this would not be possible. However if the matter went to court she could review it then.

My wife being the trusting sort assumed that clearly since she was not in the wrong and that the video evidence would clear her found the whole episode quite amusing (not sure I would have shared her sense of humour on this one).

You know what's coming next I'm sure........Conditional offer of fixed penalty, 6 points and £200 fine received today.

I am not really looking for advice as to how to "get away with this". Quite simply no offence was committed. I have spoken to a lawyer who specialises in these matters who has given a few pointers but the fees of between £1k to £3k are beyond my means. My question is if we go to court what should we expect. We can request records from our mobile phone provider that will show no calls or texts were being made at or around the time (for both my wife and daughters phone if needed. The alleged
Offence happened at just before 1800 prior to the clocks going back so I would assume any video footage would be reasonably poor (which I would imagine would be good news if you were guilty of an offence but not so good if you are innocent) and would also like to know if they really do review the evidence before moving to preps edition of was by wife just being planted given the circumstances.

I think I've covered everything and would appreciate your thoughts. I am sure we are all in favour of the Police finally taking this offence seriously but over zealolous officers raising funds from innocent motorists is unacceptable.

If I can give anybody anymore info please ask. My wife is in pieces over this, 30 years of driving so much as a minor ding or a parking ticket and now she's been hit for six.

Thanks in advance.

JC.




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post Tue, 28 Mar 2017 - 15:55
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BertB
post Fri, 31 Mar 2017 - 09:01
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Retrieving voicemail would show up on the phone log, as you have to dial a number to retrieve it.

With the phone up at her ear as alleged, it is unlikely she was sending or reading a text.

But yes, it wouldn't show that a call was attempted and not connected.
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southpaw82
post Fri, 31 Mar 2017 - 10:11
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I doubt the police will make the enquiry in relation to a simple traffic offence. It doesn't seem proportionate.


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The Rookie
post Fri, 31 Mar 2017 - 10:25
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QUOTE (BertB @ Fri, 31 Mar 2017 - 10:01) *
Retrieving voicemail would show up on the phone log, as you have to dial a number to retrieve it.

Last decade maybe, not this, mine is accessed via mobile data and stored on the phone allowing me to listen to it later without any connection........


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Unzippy
post Fri, 31 Mar 2017 - 14:06
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All you need to prove it that she wasn't holding the phone.

At the minute you have one copper saying she was and her saying she wasn't.

Currently my money is on the police wacko.gif
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DKCC
post Fri, 31 Mar 2017 - 14:12
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Just out of interest, can your wife recall whether the officer who spoke to her was also wearing a body-worn video camera? From my time on the other side of the body armour I recall those things were a pig to turn off so you probably wouldn't do so, and if the officer didn't turn it off their whole conversation was recorded.
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baggins1234
post Fri, 31 Mar 2017 - 15:51
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QUOTE (DKCC @ Fri, 31 Mar 2017 - 14:12) *
Just out of interest, can your wife recall whether the officer who spoke to her was also wearing a body-worn video camera? From my time on the other side of the body armour I recall those things were a pig to turn off so you probably wouldn't do so, and if the officer didn't turn it off their whole conversation was recorded.


Para 7 of the initial post does mention he was wearing bwvc
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JC21
post Fri, 31 Mar 2017 - 16:49
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Good evening,

Once again sincere thanks for your replies and advice.

With regard to getting the records from the mobile phone provider we were just hoping to have SOMETHING to show to the magistrate on the basis that if my wife was guilty of using the phone she would clearly not be so forthcoming in offering such evidence. I appreciate that this is not conclusive proof and that the phone can be used in other ways but would ask the court to consider this. In addition the stop occurred on a journey from our house to the supermarket which is a two minute drive ( we usually walk as it's easier but it was time for a "big shop") in a car with a factory fitted hands free device that is synced to the phone as soon as it is range. Again all conjecture I know but yes it's the officers word (there was just one dealing with her) against the word of my wife and daughter.

Still trying to get in touch with the Officers sergeant to no avail. My wife has been given time off by her employer on Monday to deal with this and if we have no joy we will write (registered delivery) requesting that the video is preserved for up viewing in court.

Other than that we're out of ideas.

Rgds

JC.
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JC21
post Fri, 31 Mar 2017 - 17:35
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Just to add, I've been going over this with my wife again(and again and again). I mentioned the the Police were in situ for the precise reason of catching people using mobile phones (the officer confirmed this to my wife). When she was stopped the officer in the first instance asked her to wait for a short while as they were dealing with another driver that they had stopped. A period of a few minutes passed before he returned but May go some way to explaining why she didn't have the opportunity to show that the phone was in her bag. Not sure if it's relevant but just thought I'd mention.


Rgds


JC.
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The Rookie
post Fri, 31 Mar 2017 - 20:31
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You have to work on reasonable doubt, it's a shame your wife didn't state to the officer quite clearly that the phone was in her bag all the time, while she wasn't cautioned so there shouldn't be an adverse inference it certainly hasn't helped but she can major on the officers promise to review the tape and that she was confident it would result in NFA.

Of course the footage may show nothing of help or looking 'suspicious' on the other hand if the police can't produce it it would help your case somewhat.


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There is no such thing as a law abiding motorist, just those who have been scammed and those yet to be scammed!

S172's
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Rookies 1-0 Birmingham

PPC PCN's
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notmeatloaf
post Fri, 31 Mar 2017 - 21:01
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QUOTE (JC21 @ Fri, 31 Mar 2017 - 01:38) *
If I've misunderstood your point I apologise.

Rgds

JC.

In my experience (as with most middle managers) you will get the best response if you keep it simple and do-able in five minutes, [This] has happened, please would you be able to do [this] because of [this]. Although it is normal to want to "prove your case" in actuality the best option would be for the officer to be quietly told to drop it.

You don't want to complicate things by asking for all sorts of evidence which you don't need because the video should be conclusive or indeed not conclusive.
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Churchmouse
post Sat, 1 Apr 2017 - 15:39
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QUOTE (The Rookie @ Fri, 31 Mar 2017 - 21:31) *
You have to work on reasonable doubt, it's a shame your wife didn't state to the officer quite clearly that the phone was in her bag all the time, while she wasn't cautioned so there shouldn't be an adverse inference it certainly hasn't helped but she can major on the officers promise to review the tape and that she was confident it would result in NFA.


QUOTE
When my wife denied this the officer explained that the he had seen her move her hand from the side of her head quickly and that was what raised his suspicion.

My wife explained that her phone was in her bag and that she hadn't been using it, my daughter had her own phone in her hand (aged 15 social media addict what more can I say).


?

--Churchmouse
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DancingDad
post Sun, 2 Apr 2017 - 11:15
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Don't know that it is that relevant but knowing the sequence and which officer is making the accusation may help formulate defence.

It seems pulled by a patrol car, the cops in it not only dealing with wife but with another motorist ?
How did they see your wife if they were dealing with another. And vice versa.

They seem reliant on bodycam footage.
How much would a bodycam show from inside a vehicle ?

Or is this a case of a spotter(s) further up the road who then call in a vehicle to make the pull?
Or that talk of a video is BS and cop just pulled on spec?
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JC21
post Tue, 23 May 2017 - 13:08
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Good afternoon

Just a quick update, Not much to add really.

At the end of March my wife made numerous attempts to contact the officers Seargeant. Messages were left but to no avail. At the beginning of April she wrote to him at the Police Station in Basingstoke where he was based (Royal Mail special Delivery, we know it's been received). The letter asked if the video of the so called offence had in fact been reviewed and also asked that it was preserved as she would not be accepting the COFP and would like the matter to be heard by the magistrates court. The relevant paperwork was also returned to the issuing address. As I said that was at the beginning of April. We are still waiting for a response. As and when we hear further I will keep you updated as all of your help has been invaluable.

Best regards.

JC.



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JC21
post Tue, 5 Dec 2017 - 17:33
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Good evening,

Just to update you on where this (finally) went. My wife returned the paperwork and pleaded not guilty providing a host of pertinent information and requesting whether the video had been reviewed and requesting that it was preserved.

We subsequently received the officers statement which quite frankly looked as if it had been written by a four year old using cut and paste badly.

It seems that the video from the car was a misnomer as it wasn't recording in the direction of the alleged offence and the only footage was from the bodycam which again showed very little.

My wife attended a court date to plead not guilty and explained why she would be doing so and presented her case. Today she attended Basingstoke Magistrates court with my daughter as witness to the events.

Shortly after arrival she was called into see the legal who advised her that the case had been dropped.

Whilst she is obviously relieved that everything is resolved it has been a stressful and frustrating 10 months or so for her. That said we are both grateful that the outcome was correct. She will be awarded costs.

We would both like to say a big thank you for the contribution and advice received from all the members posting on this site. It has been invaluable.

Very best wishes to you all.

Regards

JC21.
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NewJudge
post Tue, 5 Dec 2017 - 18:07
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Good result. Courts do work sometimes biggrin.gif

Thanks for reporting back.
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StuartBu
post Tue, 5 Dec 2017 - 18:14
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On one hand a welcome result but I'm sure on the other an unsatisfactory one . Were any clues given as to why it was dropped ...I'm guessing the Prosecutor only saw the papers that day and nobody prior to that bothered to look closely at the case. .
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JC21
post Tue, 5 Dec 2017 - 18:28
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QUOTE (StuartBu @ Tue, 5 Dec 2017 - 18:14) *
On one hand a welcome result but I'm sure on the other an unsatisfactory one . Were any clues given as to why it was dropped ...I'm guessing the Prosecutor only saw the papers that day and nobody prior to that bothered to look closely at the case. .



No. No reason was given. My wife was advised that she could wait for a formal dismissal but since she really had to be at work today she felt that wasn't necessary. I too would have loved to know why on earth she had to go through all of this. Ultimately it was the PC's word against hers and our daughters who was a passenger. I suspect that you are right that nobody ever reviewed the statement submitted by my wife until the last minute. It has been rather dragged out but the relief does rather compensate.

JC.
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Del76
post Tue, 5 Dec 2017 - 18:30
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Well done and a good and fair result it would seem. The balance appears to of swung too far in the way of the police when deciding to charge and just abandoning the case when they realise its going to be fought and there mistakes are going to be examined.After all what happened to them having to prove an offence, now they can allege and the burden appears to have shifted to the accused having to prove innocence. It's very difficult to prove you haven't done something.
Susan's necklace is missing we have no idea where it is but can you prove you haven't stolen it. as opposed to we have found you in possession of this necklace which matches the details that Susan has given us.
Hopefully you are awarded the costs based upon what they would have been awarded should you have had to of paid should you have lost circa £600- £1000.
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southpaw82
post Tue, 5 Dec 2017 - 18:32
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Sadly not unusual. I find that the vast majority of people who become involved with the police (as a suspect) end up saying they'd never trust them again.


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Del76
post Tue, 5 Dec 2017 - 18:41
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I'm not anti police I have no problem with the police investigating accusing and interviewing. It is the next step that they are then charging based solely on the allegation without any evidence to back it up. The courts seem to have fallen into the trap of siding with the police if the defendant cannot prove their innocence.
I feel we shall see more cases challenged for mobile phone use with the increased penalties as before people may have accepted the course or the 3 points for an easy life. 6 points and £200 concentrates the mind somewhat more.
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