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Another unsigned NIP, Avon & Somerset, due in Bath/Wansd
post Fri, 20 Feb 2004 - 16:20
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Group: Members
Posts: 27
Joined: 20 Feb 2004
From: bromley, kent
Member No.: 907

The story so far, sorry a bit protracted..

Gatsoed (fixed camera) late August on A303, Ilminster by-pass allegedly exceeding NSL (60) by 13 mph. For those who are not familiar with this particular camera site, it is situated where two lanes (crawler lane + overtaking lane) merge into one lane again. Just the place where a driver is likely to speed up if he/she is in the overtaking lane in order to complete the overtaking manoeuvre in good time. Late at night, good conditions, light traffic. The van/lorry in the crawler lane obscured the camera from view hence the 'deterrent' did not work. (this is my first NIP btw)

early Sept. NIP + FPN arrived, the posmark on the envelope puts it within the 14 day limit. The NIP stated in bold type 'it is an offence to supply false information knowingly or recklessly and is punishable by a fine of up to £5,000'. Also in big unfriendly letters 'you must sign and date below'.

Returned NIP within 28 days, not signed and not dated (I have no agent, filled in myself in block capitals)

B&B letter arrived beg. October with photocopy of NIP stating that I did not sign the NIP, that CPS view this as non-compliance with Section 172 and could prosecute, that Section 12 (1)(B) of RTOA requires the NIP to be signed in order to be admitted as evidence and finally telling me that if I still choose not to sign 'this will lead to the consideration of prosecution for failing to comply with Section 172, instead of for the actual speed offence'. Letter was signed pp Manager, Safety Camera Unit - no mention of CoP anywhere.

Replied (D'oh!) that to the best of my understanding of the law I have fully discharged my responsibilities.

Another letter from Avon & Somerset arrived, stating 'I confirm that we will now arrange to forward the file to our Prosecutions Department for consideration of the issue of a Court Summons against you for failing to comply with Section 172'

Summons arrived mid December, for failure 'to give such information as to the identity of the driver as you were required to give by or on behalf of CoP for Avon & Somerset ...' Included were photocopies of: 1st page of the NIP, a statement by some bod that the Gatso was calibrated properly and a car with my reg# was recorded doing said speed etc, and a statement by another bod that 'no satisfactory reply had been received within 28 days'.

Entered 'not guilty' requesting witnesses to appear in person (to make it as inconvenient as possible for CPS). Second summons arrived for mid April.

I would really appreciate some advice on whether the prosecution's case might have any holes. The 2nd summons states that I must attend the hearing and in the short term I must reply and choose one of the options a) attend and plead guilty; B) attend (with/without witnesses) and plead not guilty; c) be represented by a solicitor. I will be ticking option B).

In the long term, these are the options I see

1) wait and see, hoping that Idris Francis's appeal is upheld by the High Court. 16 March is a whole month before my day in court.
2) if Idris's appeal is delayed I may have to proceed with my own defence. The NIP clearly states in bold type that supplying false info is an offence but does not state that not signing is an offence, subsequent B&B letter is not signed 'on behalf of the CoP', requirement to sign is not stated in law as acknowledged by HH Judge Ticehurst in Pickford (OK not binding but worth a mention anyway). Comment on requirement to sign the S172 in the Broomfield judgement was in passing and not part of the actual judgement. Jones-v-DPP has decided that in any case the S172 form provided by the police need not be used in order to supply the information, thus undermining Broomfield further. Yorke & Mawdeseley confirms that S172 need not be signed to be admissable as evidence. Any other ammo?

Keep up the good work guys. I am otherwise law-abiding and responsible for my actions but having researched the subject on the internet I smell a rat. The onus is on the government to show conclusively that speed cameras work but so far I find nothing even remotely credible..

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