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Conditional offer of fixed penalty - allegedly failing to stop at a red light
Dan Bear
post Thu, 15 Aug 2019 - 23:24
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Hi folks

Looking for some help here please!

A few weeks ago - I don't have the exact date, unfortunately - I received what I think was an NIP. I sent back the details of the driver, which was myself, but was confused about what the alleged offence was. I know that I sent it back on 19/07/19, as I still have the certificate of posting, and that it was well within the 28 days limit for returning the form. Unfortunately, I didn't keep a copy of the form, or the envelope, so now all I have is the piece of paper that came with it, entitled Information regarding the enclosed Section 172 Notice, which is undated.

A few days later I received a Conditional Offer of Fixed Penalty, dated 23/07/19. This states that on 05/06/2019 at 17:27 hours ... the alleged offence of Drive motor vehicle fail comply with red / green arrow / lane closure traffic light signals - manual detection. Contrary to section 36(1) of the Road Traffic Act 1988, the Traffic Signs Regulations and General Directions 2016 and Schedule 2 to the Road Traffic Offenders Act 1988.

That's an exact quote from the letter I received, which still didn't make any sense to me. I know the section of road well, and there are no lane closure lights there, or red/green arrows - apart from the fact that it's not even a proper sentence.

As soon as I could, I called the number on the letter, asking for more information, but was told I'd need to phone Greater Manchester Police to find out more - but that they're only contactable between 9am and 1pm. I wasn't able to call during those times until Thursday 8th August due to work commitments, and when I got through I was told I'd need to email asking what the alleged offence was, and that they'd be able to send me the evidence.

I emailed immediately, and received a response earlier this evening (Thursday 15th August) stating:

I acknowledge receipt of your email.

The witnessing office has observed the alleged offence, and based on the circumstances at the time, the officer has made the decision to proceed with the above notice.

The evidence in this case would be the officer’s observations and witness statement and would not be available at this stage of the proceedings. Any supplementary evidence held would form part of the prosecution case, should the matter proceed via court process.

The alleged offence recorded by the witnessing officer was – Vehicle contravened a red light (vehicle failed to stop at red traffic light).

You have been issued with a conditional offer of fixed penalty as an alternative to the court process.

If you choose not to accept the offer, the matter will proceed by court process where you will have the opportunity to place your mitigation before the Magistrates.


The penalty is £100 and 3 points, if I choose to accept it.

What's my best course of action? I'm not in the habit of going through red lights, and have never previously had any points in 23 years of driving - although I did do a speed awareness course about 7 or 8 years ago. The red light that I assume they are referring to is one going onto a roundabout at a junction with a motorway - I wasn't coming from the motorway, I was coming from an A road onto the roundabout to join the motorway.

It seems to me that they must have sent the NIP more than 14 days after the alleged offence for me to not have returned it until 19th July when the alleged offence was on the 5th June, can I challenge it on those grounds? Or can I challenge it on the grounds that what they've said I did doesn't even make sense?

And if I did go to court, what would be my chances of winning, given that it sounds as though it's just my word against the officer's word?

All advice gratefully received - £100 seems like a large sum for something I'm not convinced I even did!
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post Thu, 15 Aug 2019 - 23:24
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Logician
post Fri, 16 Aug 2019 - 00:49
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QUOTE
The red light that I assume they are referring to is one going onto a roundabout at a junction with a motorway - I wasn't coming from the motorway, I was coming from an A road onto the roundabout to join the motorway.


Really you need to post up a link to Google Streetview so that we can understand the point at issue, but fundamentally, did you go through a set of traffic lights on your journey? If not, are you saying that the officer was mistaken about your direction of travel?

As you have not completed the NIP wizard, we do not know if you are the registered keeper or your relationship with the vehicle, and you appear not to have kept any details about the document you received which may have been a NIP, so it is all delightfully vague, but only the first NIP has to be within 14 days, and it is very rare now for a NIP to be genuinely out of time, so probably it was not out of time, but we cannot possibly say.

QUOTE
And if I did go to court, what would be my chances of winning, given that it sounds as though it's just my word against the officer's word?

Very small, unless you can show that he made some fundamental error about what he saw, such as on your route you did not go through any lights. If it comes down to whether or not you went though against a red light, then firstly bear in mind that the offence is committed if any part of the vehicle goes through against the red, and you lose sight of the light as you pass it, and secondly, why should the court think that an officer who does not know you should invent this, or why should he be mistaken about such a simple observation? On the other hand you have every reason to say you did not jump the light.


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Jlc
post Fri, 16 Aug 2019 - 06:36
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The fixed penalty system is a way of disposing of matters without a prosecution. Generally it’s ideal for those who accept the allegation. Of course you have every right to take the matter to court.

However, the £100 offer goes. If you were found guilty then it could be costly especially if you went to trial - guidelines costs are £620.

But they are right at this stage that no ‘evidence’ needs to be supplied. You do have that right if going to court but it does seem a witness statement only and the court can give appropriate weight to it.

You may have a ‘late’ NIP defence but as above more details required.

The wording of the offence doesn’t provide any defence.


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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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