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Guilty or Not Guilty?, Use of a handheld device
Ali15
post Mon, 5 Mar 2018 - 18:26
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Hey everyone!

I was hoping to get some help and suggestions on what to do next.

I'll tell you guys straight the whole story. As I rather get the correct advice than going to court looking like an idiot trying to pull a fast one.

So here it goes:

During 2017 I was a victim of crime 6 times within a space of 7 - 8 months. These were all related to my car. I had one car which was stolen and the other all were attempted thefts and vandalism. I do have all the crime reference numbers.

No arrests have been made due to lack of evidence and poor police resourcing.

On the 12/11/2017 I was at a traffic light which was red and my intentions were to drive home. But a bizarre thing happened to me which resulted in me using my mobile phone.

Whilst at the traffic light, I thought I saw a vehicle identical to mine, shape, color and with the same registration number. In a haste, I panicked and I grabbed my phone off my car mount with the intention of recording the vehicle I had seen. Once I had proof I was going to call the police or go to the police station with the footage.

Otherwise, if I had gone to the police station saying I thought I saw a car with my registration number, I mostly liked would have been fobbed off with a crime reference number and again a letter saying not enough evidence to pursue.

Because the opposite traffic light had turned green the vehicle which I saw moved off. Whilst still being stationary I attempted to look at the footage and unfortunately, it was not usable because it was blurry and you couldn't see anything. I was trying to record it to quickly before the car had moved away. Anyhow, I deleted the footage and all of a sudden, on my left-hand-side I heard a horn.

It was a police officer in an unmarked, no blue capabilities vehicle (basically one of those community support area cars) telling me to pull over. He was recording using his right hand with his body cam which he had taken off his vest and steering with his left hand.

Once the traffic light had turned green, I turned right and pulled over. The police officers informed me that i am going to be given a ticket for using my mobile phone. Now at this point due to the officer's rudeness i just wanted to give my details and appeal later, so i got interviewed on the spot which i replied NO COMMENT to everything.

I was doing this so once i had been done with the police I wanted to drive around the area to see if I could spot this vehicle again. I didn't say anything to the police because again, a young Asian man, in east London, - police seen using a mobile phone and all of a sudden i say the above with no proof? sounds like someone is trying to pull a fast one from getting away from the points.

At this point, I was done with the police and free to go. Now i drove around but no luck. So i gave in and was expecting a letter from the police and to be honest at this point i was just going to take the 6 points.

Now. During 18th Nov - 31st Dec, I was out of the country with my family. My current car was parked at Heathrow's secure car park with 24/7 CCTV during that period.

Once i returned, i got some letters of which some of them were PCN's. At first glance - I made myself a cup of coffee and was ready to pay them. Now when entering the PCN details on the councils' website. I noticed one of the dates which were during when i was away and supposedly my car should have been at the Heathrow car park.

My first impression was someone from the car park was driving my car around and got a ticket. So fuming I phoned up the manager who checked the CCTV and confirmed my car had not been touched or moved.

We looked at the pictures closer.... and confirmed it's not my car! It's was only that car I first spotted when I was pulled over by the police! He got a PCN! Only 6miles from my registered home address.

I've attached the pictures. The biggest give away is the back - It has an Addison Lee signage but I phoned Addison Lee who confirmed this car was not in their fleet.

Anyways, now I received 6 points conditional offer which I ignored and I am wanting to go court.

I never had the intention to use my mobile phone whilst driving because to be honest, I don't need to because my car has Bluetooth etc. It was just I wanted to catch that bloody criminal.

My question is:
Am I guilty of using my mobile phone or not? (Yes I did have it in my hand when the police officer told me to pull it over)
What can I do about this?

The cloning of my car has been reported to ActionFruad who are investigating it still,
My D/L is currently clean no points.


Any advice is much appearcited guys.
Thank you in advance.

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post Mon, 5 Mar 2018 - 18:26
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notmeatloaf
post Wed, 7 Mar 2018 - 18:06
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QUOTE (The Rookie @ Wed, 7 Mar 2018 - 17:46) *
Police officers had more scope for using their dissection than they do now, but that’s a whole different argument.

There are plenty of old school police who don't use TORs for some drivers but they are definitely a dying breed. Certainly looking back the two b*llockings I got from the police stick with me to this day. The speed awareness course seemed aimed at people with almost no understanding of the highway code. The thing I remember most was they told you if you weren't on time you'd lose your course fee and be prosecuted. I got stuck in traffic and so ended up cracking along the lovely B-road leading to the course at 90mph. Very enjoyable drive.
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NewJudge
post Wed, 7 Mar 2018 - 18:07
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QUOTE (The Rookie @ Wed, 7 Mar 2018 - 17:46) *
Police officers had more scope for using their dissection than they do now, but that’s a whole different argument.


Hope not too many people were cut up by that! laugh.gif
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Colin_S
post Wed, 7 Mar 2018 - 18:11
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Link to CPS guidance on use of mobile phone offence.

On the use whilst stationary question the guidance states that drivers safely pulled over and stopped would not be deemed as driving but no suggestion of sitting at traffic lights, etc. as being acceptable.

This post has been edited by Colin_S: Wed, 7 Mar 2018 - 18:11
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Fredd
post Wed, 7 Mar 2018 - 18:18
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QUOTE (Colin_S @ Wed, 7 Mar 2018 - 18:11) *
Link to CPS guidance on use of mobile phone offence.

On the use whilst stationary question the guidance states that drivers safely pulled over and stopped would not be deemed as driving but no suggestion of sitting at traffic lights, etc. as being acceptable.

Noting that CPS guidance is the prosecution's view of the world, not some definitive statement of how the law should be interpreted.


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notmeatloaf
post Wed, 7 Mar 2018 - 18:37
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QUOTE (Ali15 @ Wed, 7 Mar 2018 - 17:34) *
Thank you all for your comments,

Who knew this could be so complicated.... Personally, I don't have the financial means to afford a private legal battle...

What happened to the days were you just honest about what you did and the judge be like you know you made a mistake etc ill let you off....

Another question just sidetracking a little. - What about the police officer who was holding his body cam? He took off the body cam and held it in his hand pointing towards the driver's window to record me whilst he was driving, does this like not imply he didn't have proper control or something, i mean is this even allowed?

In regards to deleting the footage, yes that I regret, but at the time just in shock and wanting to catch the b....... I didn't think.

The issue I have with this 6 points is because I have had one car stolen etc... if the courts issue me 6 points it would make me getting insurance VERY VERY difficult as I already live in a high premium area and put me in hardship.

One need my car for my family, my 91year old dad! and 4 kids (of which one has a disability)
Second 6 points would increase the premium so much that i may be unable to even afford it thus going back to my other issue of not be able to take care of my family adequately whom all rely on me. Otherwise, as I've mentioned with a clean D/L i would of just taken this on the chin.

This is just making me depressed argh!

Apologies, I missed this post.

Whether the police were in proper control is immaterial, and do not get sidetracked by it especially as it can only help you if it shows you using your phone as a camera and you wanted to pursue that avenue.

Have you actually run a dummy quote with a mobile phone conviction? I think most press articles quote a 30-40% increase, which may or may not be affordable for you. But with respect it would make almost any conviction or accident unaffordable as well. "Exceptional hardship" arguments only apply to a totting ban, not anything else.

The options have been spelt out to you, the certainty of the 6pts/£200 (unless you have already rejected that) or a fairly technical defence which may or may not work - either that you were not driving, or you were not using a device capable of being a phone at that time OR special reasons not to endorse because of effectively extreme provocation seeing a cloned copy of your vehicle causing you to momentarily not think straight.

If it doesn't work you're looking at a fine and costs approaching £1,000 and still six points. Technical defences can always fall flat with magistrates and require an appeal anyway.

Personally if your finances are so stretched then the fixed penalty may be the best option even if it means not being able to drive for a period of time. To be clear there is no chance you will turn up to court, tell the judge you're a lovable rogue, and him to chuckle and say "what a card, case dismissed". The minimum number of points you can normally get if found guilty is 6pts, there is no wiggle room there.
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TheDisapprovingB...
post Wed, 14 Mar 2018 - 17:43
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I don't believe the wording of the legislation gives you an out - the only statutory exemption is if you're using the device to call the emergency services and it's unsafe or impracticable to pull over. A sympathetic bench could possibly consider your behaviour to be capturing evidence of a crime in progress, but your biggest hurdle appears to be "not mentioning when questioned something which you later rely on in court."

The court will expect you to be able to explain why, given the timeline you've outlined, you didn't immediately say to the officer "That vehicle has my number plate, I was trying to get a photo." At that point, the vehicle should have still been well in sight, and the officer may have been able to pull him and resolve the underlying problem on the spot (at which point he may well have used his discretion in regard to your phone use).

It works in your favour that you seem to have evidence of a clone, but it certainly doesn't help that you failed to report him when you allegedly had both the police and the cloned vehicle in your sight.
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