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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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southpaw82
post Tue, 10 Jul 2018 - 18:40
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QUOTE (rjwill10 @ Tue, 10 Jul 2018 - 19:35) *
I believe their request for information is not valid as they have not proven the involvement of my vehicle.

You would be incorrect in that belief. What information did you provide to the police? You’ve potentially turned a course into 6 points.


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peterguk
post Tue, 10 Jul 2018 - 18:40
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No evidence has to be supplied until the matter goes to court, so you have no defence to the allegation on that basis.

Shame you didn't decide who was most likely to have been driving and spent a couple of hours in a classroom, instead of letting it go to court.

This post has been edited by peterguk: Tue, 10 Jul 2018 - 18:42


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rjwill10
post Tue, 10 Jul 2018 - 18:54
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I have exhausted all options to find who was driving, I even checked my dashcam, which had over recorded. I was advised that I should not give a false statement to police, which I would have ended up doing had I completed the NIP. I'm aware that I will likely be getting 6 points, but it's better than a sentence for providing false info.

I requested further evidence on numerous occasions and advised that I was not satisfied that my vehicle had committed the offence. I also provided them with the names and addresses of both potential drivers.

They ignored my claim that their evidence did not show my vehicle. I've read that they must prove beyond reasonable doubt that my vehicle committed the offence, but the photographs I have seen do not prove that. If there is a video, why not provide it to me? I have not denied my vehicle was driving on that road, but the image of the offence is literally a black background with headlights.

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Ocelot
post Tue, 10 Jul 2018 - 18:58
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Never fail to fill in the S172 request on a NIP, even if you don't think you were speeding, as failure to do so is a separate (more serious offence). As PeterGuk says, you would have been eligible for a course.

You might still just be charged with the speeding offence, however, even at Court, if I understand correctly.

Edit as started writing before your last post: You may be eligible to see the video but only if you please NG and go to Court.

This post has been edited by Ocelot: Tue, 10 Jul 2018 - 19:00
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Jlc
post Tue, 10 Jul 2018 - 19:00
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QUOTE (rjwill10 @ Tue, 10 Jul 2018 - 19:54) *
They ignored my claim that their evidence did not show my vehicle. I've read that they must prove beyond reasonable doubt that my vehicle committed the offence, but the photographs I have seen do not prove that. If there is a video, why not provide it to me? I have not denied my vehicle was driving on that road, but the image of the offence is literally a black background with headlights.

They would have to show that the speeding offence occurred (if that was being pursued) but that's immaterial as a separate offence has potentially occurred. Indeed, even if the speeding didn't occur the s172 request would not be invalidated.

Upon receiving the s172 request you must use reasonable diligence to identify the driver - you cannot rely on the Police to provide 'evidence'. But, there is a statutory defence that if you did not know who was driving and could not identify them with reasonable diligence... It may be difficult to do this but not impossible - and the 'black' picture won't assist in this defence.

If both charges (Speeding and s172) are pursued then you may wish to consider a 'plea bargain' if you decide you were more likely driving.

This post has been edited by Jlc: Tue, 10 Jul 2018 - 19:06


--------------------
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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rjwill10
post Tue, 10 Jul 2018 - 19:00
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Yeah, but I've already done the course for an offence I know I committed. This one was for points. If I'd have put the Mrs down and they had evidence that proved it was me, I'd be stuffed, so I wasn't willing to make a 50/50 guess.
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Logician
post Tue, 10 Jul 2018 - 19:04
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Obviously the police have an image available that identifies your vehicle, otherwise they would not have been in a position to write to you. The police are not required to prove an offence occurred before being entitled to request the identity of the driver from you, all that is needed is an allegation, so you have successfully shot yourself in the foot. If you are now charged with both speeding and the s.172 offence, and you were driving, you should be able to get the s.172 dropped by agreeing to plead guilty to the speeding.

If you were not driving or the speeding has not been charged, you are likely to be convicted of the s.172 offence as the court is unlikely to accept that you could not work out who was driving at the time. This carries 6 points and a fine of 150% of your net weekly income, plus surcharge of 10% (min £30) and costs with a guideline of £620 if you are found guilty after a trial. Pleading guilty would see a discount of 33% off the fine and costs of £85. Plus increased insurance premiums for five years, as insurers are sensitive to that offence.


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rjwill10
post Tue, 10 Jul 2018 - 19:16
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QUOTE (Jlc @ Tue, 10 Jul 2018 - 20:00) *
QUOTE (rjwill10 @ Tue, 10 Jul 2018 - 19:54) *
They ignored my claim that their evidence did not show my vehicle. I've read that they must prove beyond reasonable doubt that my vehicle committed the offence, but the photographs I have seen do not prove that. If there is a video, why not provide it to me? I have not denied my vehicle was driving on that road, but the image of the offence is literally a black background with headlights.

They would have to show that the speeding offence occurred (if that was being pursued) but that's immaterial as a separate offence has potentially occurred. Indeed, even if the speeding didn't occur the s172 request would not be invalidated.

Upon receiving the s172 request you must use reasonable diligence to identify the driver - you cannot rely on the Police to provide 'evidence'. But, there is a statutory defence that if you did not know who was driving and could not identify them with reasonable diligence... It may be difficult to do this - and the 'black' picture won't assist in this defence.


The advice I've been given is that the request to furnish is invalid if there is no proven offence under the RTA. The police can only request information if an offence has been committed, but if you can argue that no offence has taken place, the S172 becomes invalid by default, as how can I admit to something that has hasn't happened.

Apparently, a failure to furnish is now an automatic 6 points, regardless of circumstance, so the best defence is to argue the request was invalid.

Essentially, I don't think I'll know until I stand infront of the magistrates.

QUOTE (Logician @ Tue, 10 Jul 2018 - 20:04) *
Obviously the police have an image available that identifies your vehicle, otherwise they would not have been in a position to write to you. The police are not required to prove an offence occurred before being entitled to request the identity of the driver from you, all that is needed is an allegation, so you have successfully shot yourself in the foot. If you are now charged with both speeding and the s.172 offence, and you were driving, you should be able to get the s.172 dropped by agreeing to plead guilty to the speeding.

If you were not driving or the speeding has not been charged, you are likely to be convicted of the s.172 offence as the court is unlikely to accept that you could not work out who was driving at the time. This carries 6 points and a fine of 150% of your net weekly income, plus surcharge of 10% (min £30) and costs with a guideline of £620 if you are found guilty after a trial. Pleading guilty would see a discount of 33% off the fine and costs of £85. Plus increased insurance premiums for five years, as insurers are sensitive to that offence.


Yes, but the image they have is not at the time of the alleged offence, it's simply a picture of my vehicle driving past the van. What if the vehicle that committed the offence pulled over. I don't believe two images with a 14 second difference can account for that, given that the first image of the offence has 0 information.

And if I knew it was me driving, I would have given my details but I honestly don't know. We've done everything to check, but it was on a road we had both driven on within 30min. Text messages, dashcam and receipts don't allow me to identify which of the two of us was driving. I don't know what else I could have done apart from taking a 50 50 guess.
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notmeatloaf
post Tue, 10 Jul 2018 - 19:22
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Perhaps read S172 and see?

If you think about it it would make no sense for the police to prove an offence has taken place. That it the role of the role of the Crown prosecution a service in the courts.

The police allege an offence has taken place and tell you they are considering prosecuting you.

That whole angle is a nonstarter. Forget it.

It is an offence to knowingly name a false driver but not to name who, on balance of probabilities it was. Outside of very unlikely circumstances there will always be a more likely driver even if it is 50.1/49.9.

If you have a think and decide you were the 50.1 then you can likely plea bargain and go guilty for the speeding in exchange for them dropping the much nastier S172. Of course you would not then be able to dispute the speeding evidence, but it would seem almost certain police have video linking the two images.

Otherwise there seems no defence to the S172 charge, although they will then drop the speeding as they have no evidence who was driving.

This post has been edited by notmeatloaf: Tue, 10 Jul 2018 - 19:24
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peterguk
post Tue, 10 Jul 2018 - 19:23
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QUOTE (rjwill10 @ Tue, 10 Jul 2018 - 20:16) *
Apparently, a failure to furnish is now an automatic 6 points, regardless of circumstance, so the best defence is to argue the request was invalid.


It's 6 points (not less, not more) if convicted of the charge.

This post has been edited by peterguk: Tue, 10 Jul 2018 - 19:26


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Jlc
post Tue, 10 Jul 2018 - 19:25
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QUOTE (rjwill10 @ Tue, 10 Jul 2018 - 20:16) *
The advice I've been given is that the request to furnish is invalid if there is no proven offence under the RTA. The police can only request information if an offence has been committed, but if you can argue that no offence has taken place, the S172 becomes invalid by default, as how can I admit to something that has hasn't happened.

Your 'advice' is wrong.

QUOTE (rjwill10 @ Tue, 10 Jul 2018 - 20:16) *
Apparently, a failure to furnish is now an automatic 6 points, regardless of circumstance, so the best defence is to argue the request was invalid.

No, it's not automatic. There are cases on here where the bench have accepted the keeper could not identify the driver. Arguing the request was invalid WILL fail.


--------------------
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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StationCat
post Tue, 10 Jul 2018 - 19:27
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QUOTE (rjwill10 @ Tue, 10 Jul 2018 - 20:16) *
Yes, but the image they have is not at the time of the alleged offence, it's simply a picture of my vehicle driving past the van. What if the vehicle that committed the offence pulled over. I don't believe two images with a 14 second difference can account for that, given that the first image of the offence has 0 information.

The most likely scenario is that they have a continuous video showing a car being pinged with the speeding offence and then the same car a short time later with the registration plate visible. All they have provided is stills from the video, but the video will be available to the court - and you too, if you plead not guilty.


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"Truth is ever to be found in the simplicity, and not in the multiplicity and confusion of things" - Isaac Newton
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NewJudge
post Tue, 10 Jul 2018 - 19:46
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QUOTE (rjwill10 @ Tue, 10 Jul 2018 - 20:16) *
The advice I've been given is that the request to furnish is invalid if there is no proven offence under the RTA. The police can only request information if an offence has been committed, but if you can argue that no offence has taken place, the S172 becomes invalid by default, as how can I admit to something that has hasn't happened.


To put your mind (and that of your advisor) at ease, S172(2) says this:

Where the driver of a vehicle is alleged to be guilty of an offence to which this section applies—

(a)the person keeping the vehicle shall give such information as to the identity of the driver as he may be required to give by or on behalf of a chief officer of police...


So, nothing about a "proven" offence or "an offence that has been committed". All that's needed is an allegation. The police have made such an allegation so the request is valid. If you think about it, the police cannot prove a speeding offence until they know who was driving and they cannot know who was driving until they ask the RK. So to suggest they have to prove an offence before they can ask is clearly incorrect and your idea of having the request declared invalid on those grounds is a complete non-starter.

This post has been edited by NewJudge: Tue, 10 Jul 2018 - 19:49
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rjwill10
post Tue, 10 Jul 2018 - 19:58
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Thanks all. I will look at options. Although I did not complete the S172, I did provide them with the name and addresses of both potential drivers, so I will need to look at that as a defence and outline everything I did to identify the driver.
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Jlc
post Tue, 10 Jul 2018 - 20:03
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If you've been asked to enter a plea you must know what offences are listed? Speeding and s172 or just the s172?


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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 Tue, 10 Jul 2018 - 20:17
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QUOTE (rjwill10 @ Tue, 10 Jul 2018 - 20:58) *
Thanks all. I will look at options. Although I did not complete the S172, I did provide them with the name and addresses of both potential drivers, so I will need to look at that as a defence and outline everything I did to identify the driver.

S172 does provide a defence if you have named two drivers.

QUOTE
(4)A person shall not be guilty of an offence by virtue of paragraph (a) of subsection (2) above if he shows that he did not know and could not with reasonable diligence have ascertained who the driver of the vehicle was.


However, for a while the courts have tended to view that as a fairly high bar, to the point where you need to exhaust every reasonable avenue to try to find out who was driving. E.g. phone records, diaries, credit card statements, etc.

Otherwise they tend to find it difficult to believe that two adults could not piece together events from less than two weeks ago.

What have you checked to ascertain who was driving.
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NewJudge
post Tue, 10 Jul 2018 - 20:28
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QUOTE (rjwill10 @ Tue, 10 Jul 2018 - 20:58) *
Although I did not complete the S172, I did provide them with the name and addresses of both potential drivers, so I will need to look at that as a defence....

That response does not meet the requirements of S172 and you will have to show that you could not determine who was driving.
QUOTE (rjwill10 @ Tue, 10 Jul 2018 - 20:58) *
...and outline everything I did to identify the driver.

As suggested, you need to let us know whether you have been charged with both offences.

This post has been edited by NewJudge: Tue, 10 Jul 2018 - 20:30
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Churchmouse
post Wed, 11 Jul 2018 - 00:33
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QUOTE (rjwill10 @ Tue, 10 Jul 2018 - 19:35) *
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.

The police are under no legal obligation to provide even a scintilla of "evidence" to you before you plead not guilty. Once (and if) you plead not guilty, their evidence will be provided to you sometime before the court date. The police usually do provide photographs to "assist in the identification of the driver", but this is not intended to be evidence of the offence or even an indication of the type of evidence the police have available for use in court. It sounds like the photos provided were not very useful, but most of them aren't, because in the UK most automatic speed cameras shoot from behind the vehicle. Unfortunately, the poor quality of the photos doesn't alter the keeper's obligation to identify the driver.

--Churchmouse
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rjwill10
post Wed, 11 Jul 2018 - 07:29
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I've been charged with speeding and failing to furnish.

I did look at the S172, but it wasn't obvious how I could say that I did not know who was driving?

At the time of the offence, I was at a family event, in an area that I do not live (so I can't say it was 9am in the morning during my commute). I went to get some take away food from a local shop, and when I got back, I had forgotten to get something for my GF. She then said she would pop back down to get it and borrowed my car. All this happened within a 30min window, and I don't know any of the times.

To try and find out, we did the usual, check text messages, spoke to family to see if they remembered who went, and at what time. I checked my dashcam footage, as it has parking recording, but it over recorded by the time I got the nip. We checked if we had receipts, but it was a chippy, and we just paid cash. 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.
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