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Car seized and impounded
agresr
post Sun, 3 Jun 2018 - 16:33
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Hi all, hoping someone can shed some light on my current situation.
I was given a section 59 on 13/5/18 which is 3 weeks ago. The officer produced it on sloane street in Central London for my exhaust being too loud. This was at 3pm on a Sunday afternoon! No slip was given to me, only verbal.
Fast forward to the early hours of this morning 3/6/18 my car was seized by a traffic officer on park Lane, London for "no insurance code A601" and section 59.
His reasoning for this was I was apparently "racing" another car which invalidates my insurance hence him seizing it for no insurance. I wasn't racing at all and explained to him my car is loud so it sounds like it's travelling quicker than it actually is.
When I confronted him for the footage, he said I can't see it and I can only view it in court. He also said I'll be summonsed to court for "racing"
He produced a pink slip with the no insurance code ticked and wrote section 59 himself and ticked it.
Once everything was done, I was waiting for my uber and he said I might get lucky with the "racing" charge as his main camera wasn't recording but his overview camera might have got it. He pointed towards a camera behind his rear view mirror.

Where do I stand as both of these apparent section 59's I feel are given to me unlawfully. I plan to take this to court so the apparent footage of me "racing" can be seen, which there isn't anything off. How do I claim back all costs including impound charges and fees etc?

Thanks for your help

This post has been edited by agresr: Mon, 4 Jun 2018 - 18:32
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post Sun, 3 Jun 2018 - 16:33
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notmeatloaf
post Wed, 6 Jun 2018 - 17:29
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Perhaps you could explain why the police specifically said you were racing? Was there a second car allegedly involved, and if so we're they stopped as well? Were you driving with other people you knew?

The positive is that from your description the police focussed on you rather than the annoyance it caused others, which is S59 territory. What you need to establish is whether the seizure was for no insurance or S59. If insurance then as has been said it should be easy to recover if (on a truthful telling of events) your insurance company confirms in writing you were covered at the time.

You probably don't need us to say that the Met are very hot in this at the moment and (as someone who drives a much louder car than you when pushed) it is best to avoid using race mode with apparent frequency in central London because, honestly, there just is no obvious need.

This post has been edited by notmeatloaf: Wed, 6 Jun 2018 - 17:30
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NewJudge
post Wed, 6 Jun 2018 - 17:35
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QUOTE (Durzel @ Wed, 6 Jun 2018 - 16:28) *
Furthermore the legal definition of Section 59 is "Vehicles used in manner causing alarm, distress or annoyance" - https://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/2002/30/section/59.

Yes, but before that consideration is made, the officer has to form the opinion the vehicle is also being driven carelessly or inconsiderately. To support an allegation of driving inconsiderately it has to be shown that somebody was actually inconvenienced by that lack of consideration (rather than the possibility they might be) so I should imagine that the officer's opinion must be influenced by that.
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samthecat
post Wed, 6 Jun 2018 - 17:57
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QUOTE (NewJudge @ Wed, 6 Jun 2018 - 18:35) *
QUOTE (Durzel @ Wed, 6 Jun 2018 - 16:28) *
Furthermore the legal definition of Section 59 is "Vehicles used in manner causing alarm, distress or annoyance" - https://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/2002/30/section/59.

Yes, but before that consideration is made, the officer has to form the opinion the vehicle is also being driven carelessly or inconsiderately. To support an allegation of driving inconsiderately it has to be shown that somebody was actually inconvenienced by that lack of consideration (rather than the possibility they might be) so I should imagine that the officer's opinion must be influenced by that.


What if it was just driven carelessly? Easier to form that opinion although if a noisy car was racing around London it would be fairly easy to observe passers by being startled or shocked by the vehicle.


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NewJudge
post Wed, 6 Jun 2018 - 18:31
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QUOTE (samthecat @ Wed, 6 Jun 2018 - 18:57) *
What if it was just driven carelessly?

Then the vehicle should not be seized because S59 says this:

59 Vehicles used in manner causing alarm, distress or annoyance

(1) Where a constable in uniform has reasonable grounds for believing that a motor vehicle is being used on any occasion in a manner which—
(a) contravenes section 3 or 34 of the Road Traffic Act 1988 (c. 52) (careless and inconsiderate driving and prohibition of off-road driving), and [my emphasis]
(b)is causing, or is likely to cause, alarm, distress or annoyance to members of the public, he shall have the powers set out in subsection (3).
[the power to seize the vehicle]

This post has been edited by NewJudge: Wed, 6 Jun 2018 - 18:32
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666
post Wed, 6 Jun 2018 - 18:54
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QUOTE (NewJudge @ Wed, 6 Jun 2018 - 18:31) *
QUOTE (samthecat @ Wed, 6 Jun 2018 - 18:57) *
What if it was just driven carelessly?

Then the vehicle should not be seized because S59 says this:

59 Vehicles used in manner causing alarm, distress or annoyance

(1) Where a constable in uniform has reasonable grounds for believing that a motor vehicle is being used on any occasion in a manner which—
(a) contravenes section 3 or 34 of the Road Traffic Act 1988 (c. 52) (careless and inconsiderate driving and prohibition of off-road driving), and [my emphasis]
(b)is causing, or is likely to cause, alarm, distress or annoyance to members of the public, he shall have the powers set out in subsection (3).
[the power to seize the vehicle]


Aren't the magic words "is likely ...."?
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samthecat
post Wed, 6 Jun 2018 - 19:55
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The likely bit was what I was thinking about.....


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NewJudge
post Wed, 6 Jun 2018 - 20:56
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But there's nothing "likely" about (a). First of all the officer has to have reasonable grounds for believing that the vehicle was being driven carelessly or inconsiderately. Only then does it either have to cause or be "likely to cause" alarm, distress, etc.

This post has been edited by NewJudge: Wed, 6 Jun 2018 - 20:57
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samthecat
post Wed, 6 Jun 2018 - 21:11
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So driven carelessly and likely to cause annoyance would suffice.... which I don't think is too much of a burden if racing around a densely populated area.


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Churchmouse
post Thu, 7 Jun 2018 - 13:19
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QUOTE (peterguk @ Tue, 5 Jun 2018 - 22:13) *
QUOTE (Churchmouse @ Tue, 5 Jun 2018 - 21:55) *
As for the, frankly, rather corrupt-sounding "no insurance" charge, can't the OP simply produce a letter from the insurer stating that he was insured on such and such a date?

--Churchmouse


Of course he can.

So there was actually no prospect of a successful prosecution for lack of insurance when the police officer decided to seize the OP's vehicle for it having been "driven without insurance", based on the insurance policy allegedly having been "invalid" due to the OP's alleged violation of a contractual provision allegedly contained in such policy (neither of which were within the police officer's reasonable knowledge at the time). More useful information on insurance-based seizure on Patterson Law.

That said, seizure based on s.59 seems rather more defensible. That is apparently "heavy handed" legislation by design.

--Churchmouse
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notmeatloaf
post Thu, 7 Jun 2018 - 17:56
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You are making a lot of assumptions bearing in mind the OP has told about 50% of the story.

There is little point in giving advice without knowing exactly what it has been seized for, insurance or S59.

If insurance it is more than possible the police called the OPs insurance company, described the sequence of events, and clarified whether they were insured.

As in the S59 thread either the OP is incredibly unlucky and was driving with a non modified vehicle in a factory fitted setting and still got tugged twice, or the police were drawn to something else.
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southpaw82
post Thu, 7 Jun 2018 - 19:42
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QUOTE (notmeatloaf @ Thu, 7 Jun 2018 - 18:56) *
There is little point in giving advice without knowing exactly what it has been seized for, insurance or S59.

Or advise on both.


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Churchmouse
post Sat, 9 Jun 2018 - 09:33
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QUOTE (notmeatloaf @ Thu, 7 Jun 2018 - 18:56) *
You are making a lot of assumptions bearing in mind the OP has told about 50% of the story.

There is little point in giving advice without knowing exactly what it has been seized for, insurance or S59.

If insurance it is more than possible the police called the OPs insurance company, described the sequence of events, and clarified whether they were insured.

The OP did say the police had told him they were seizing the car for "no insurance", but that could of course be incorrect.

Patterson makes several good points about the "police determining contract coverage during phone call with insurer call centre" scenario, with the gist of it being that the police are in no position to adjudicate the fine points of contract and insurance law (which actually determine the validity of an insurance policy), so any conclusion drawn as a result of such a conversation in relation to this kind of question could satisfy some sort of "reasonableness" standard, but it would have no bearing on whether the OP's insurance was actually valid at the time. Neither the police nor the insurer's late-night call centre staff are capable of doing that.

That the OP can simply obtain a letter from his insurer to prove in court that minimum liability coverage was in place at a particular place and time--regardless of whatever the police officer had decided at the roadside at 2am ("early morning", IIRC)--would seem to doom any prosecution based on lack of insurance. I do not know if the seizure would have been appropriate regardless; I was simply commenting on the threatened prosecution for lack of insurance.

--Churchmouse
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cp8759
post Sat, 9 Jun 2018 - 12:45
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QUOTE (Churchmouse @ Sat, 9 Jun 2018 - 10:33) *
Patterson makes several good points about the "police determining contract coverage during phone call with insurer call centre" scenario, with the gist of it being that the police are in no position to adjudicate the fine points of contract and insurance law (which actually determine the validity of an insurance policy), so any conclusion drawn as a result of such a conversation in relation to this kind of question could satisfy some sort of "reasonableness" standard, but it would have no bearing on whether the OP's insurance was actually valid at the time. Neither the police nor the insurer's late-night call centre staff are capable of doing that.

That the OP can simply obtain a letter from his insurer to prove in court that minimum liability coverage was in place at a particular place and time--regardless of whatever the police officer had decided at the roadside at 2am ("early morning", IIRC)--would seem to doom any prosecution based on lack of insurance. I do not know if the seizure would have been appropriate regardless; I was simply commenting on the threatened prosecution for lack of insurance.

--Churchmouse

If the police are presented with a document purporting to be a valid insurance certificate, and upon talking to the insurance company they wrongly conclude there is no valid policy in force, the seizure is unlawful and the force can be sued for tortious interference with goods, see http://www.bailii.org/ew/cases/EWCA/Civ/2011/749.html

"if a police officer believes, even on reasonable grounds, that a certificate such as that produced by Mr Burton does not cover the driver (as where a doubtful explanation is given as to his authorisation by the owner), the police officer is at risk if he then seizes the vehicle. If it turns out that the driver was uninsured, the certificate was not "the relevant certificate of insurance", and the seizure was justified. If, however, as here, it turns out that the driver was in fact insured under the policy under which the insurance certificate was issued, then the seizure of the vehicle was unauthorised and gives rise to liability for damages in tort."

In this instance it should be straightforward to prove that the relevant insurance policy was valid so a no insurance seizure is likely to be unlawful. The key issue is, did agresr produce a certificate of insurance to the officer?


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I am not on the "motorists's side", nor am I on the "police/CPS/council's" side, I am simply in favour of the rule of law.
No, I am not a lawyer.
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DancingDad
post Sat, 9 Jun 2018 - 13:03
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Am I missing something ?

According to OP the seizure notice was on two grounds.... "He produced a pink slip with the no insurance code ticked and wrote section 59 himself and ticked it. "

I can see that the No insurance is possibly easily beaten but less certain on the S59.
The latter seems to be for having a loud exhaust and causing annoyance.
Which though subjective would need to be argued in a court to render the removal unlawful.
Not that I am certain how it would get to court except by suing the police.
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cp8759
post Sat, 9 Jun 2018 - 13:55
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southpaw82 suggested advising on both, I advised on the only one which has any prospect of success (aside from the fact that a letter from the insurance company confirming he was insured will eliminate any chance of a no insurance conviction). I agree there's no chance of defeating the s59 seizure at this point, so a claim against the police would fail.


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I am not on the "motorists's side", nor am I on the "police/CPS/council's" side, I am simply in favour of the rule of law.
No, I am not a lawyer.
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