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Speeding -Single Justice Procedure Notice Stage, Advice on managing the process
driverd
post Tue, 17 Sep 2019 - 09:36
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So here’s the story

I apparently activated a HADECS camera on a variable speed limit motorway. Apparently a variable speed limit of 60mph was in force. This was in a late spring month this year, a weekend, late evening, road was very clear.

The alleged speed i was doing attracts a Band B sentence i.e. 4 to 6 points plus 125% weekly income fine. I have a clean licence and never had any points previously.

I requested photographic evidence, along with calibration certificates etc. which was provided.

The evidence also shows a photo of the gantry showing the illuminated 60mph sign however the photo captured is 1sec after the alleged offence.

I also requested from the highways agency a log of the variable speed limits in operation that day.

Here’s where it gets interesting, the highways agency do not have log of what the speed limit was at the time of the alleged offence. There is a data log missing for around 8 hours that day.

On the face of it appears to be a system error and I think the system was "stuck" on displaying a 60mph limit for those missing 8 hours.

This is reminiscent of a recent case where a 20mph was incorrectly displayed for 12hrs on a motorway. But not easy to prove as legally unenforceable

Have now been sent a SJPN as offer of fixed penalty timed out due to admin issues and have to respond to it my next week.

I queried whether the fixed penalty could be reinstated but the answer was no.

Options

Plead Guilty on the SJPN- with mitigating circumstances about the fixed penalty, clear road etc.

Meaning best case get £100 and 3 points. Worst case £350-£500 fine + 6 points if Magistrate is spiteful

Plead Not Guilty on the SJPN

SJPN documentation is missing the NIP initially sent to the lease company and the witness statement makes explicit reference to it, all other paper work i.e. NIP to me and fixed penalty papers have been included.

In addition the witness statement does not have the "witness to signature” box signed.

So I can base the not guilty pleas on “No evidence provided to evidence the 14 day NIP requirement has been met” but i think they have met the 14 day period based on correspondence from the lease company

Then hope some “Administrative” issues occur and the case is dropped before trial.

If trial is likely to proceed, plead guilty before trial and get 3-6 points + £350-£500 fine+ £95 prosecution costs.

Any comments/advice would be very much appreciated from members!

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post Tue, 17 Sep 2019 - 09:36
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Jlc
post Tue, 17 Sep 2019 - 10:06
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I wouldn't want to take on the case for arguing a 60mph limit was 'unreasonable'. (The 20mph case had merits but wasn't pursued)

With HADECS3, the prevailing limit is snapped by the auxiliary camera so there's no argument over what limit was displayed. It seems the system was enforcing that prevailing limit too. (Unless you were exceeding 78mph) What was your speed?

The lack of log could be attacked but it will be difficult to argue against the clearly displayed limit. (Moreso if you were exceeding 70mph too)

You don't mention what 'admin' issues caused the CoFP to 'time out' but it may not be relevant to consider a fixed penalty equivalent sentence.

This post has been edited by Jlc: Tue, 17 Sep 2019 - 10:06


--------------------
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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NewJudge
post Tue, 17 Sep 2019 - 10:16
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It depends how much effort you want to put in to defending the charge.

If you plead guilty the court has guidance which says they can sentence at the Fixed Penalty level if the failure to be offered or accept one was due to "administrative matters unconnected to the offence". You don't say what these are so it's difficult to say whether the guidance would be applicable. You also don't say what the speed alleged was and this is needed to give a view on potential sentencing.

As far as the charge itself goes you seem to be suggesting you might have a number of defences:


The NIP: the prosecution does not have to prove correct service. If they can prove the date of posting (which they almost certainly can) it is assumed served two working days after that. If you dispute it the onus is on you to prove it was late. The NIP does not form part of the case against you. It only comes into play if you dispute its service.


The limit: I should think that a court presented with a photograph of the "60" display, albeit one second after the offence (by which I assume you mean one second after your vehicle was photographed) will accept that the limit was on display as you passed the gantry. Cameras are not activated (to detect at the lower speed) until some time after it is displayed. To be successful you would have to convince the court that the "60" appeared in the one second between the two photographs being taken and that the camera taking a picture of your vehicle was activated immediately - a tough ask I would say.

Your "mitigation" about a clear road is not mitigation at all. Exceeding the speed limit on a congested road is aggravation, doing so on a clear road is not mitigation.

If you plead Not Guilty on the basis of the lack of NIP evidence that is a non-starter and you will lose. If you contest the matter on the basis of the limit being unenforceable for some reason I also believe you have little chance (0ther opinions may differ).

If it was me? I'd plead guilty and, provided the administrative issues you refer to are applicable, ask the court to sentence at the fixed penalty level as per their guidance. To maintain a Not Guilty plea until the day of the trial in the hope of an administrative blunder is a little foolish. You will get no discount for guilty plea, costs will probably be £620. It will cost you the thick end of £1k and you will end up with more than three points.

This post has been edited by NewJudge: Tue, 17 Sep 2019 - 10:19
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driverd
post Tue, 17 Sep 2019 - 10:38
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Thank you for your prompt responses.

For clarification

1) The alleged speed was recorded at > 80mph but <85mph
2) The admin issues surrounding the CoFP were that the letter remained unopened until after the 28 days. I receive a lot of post so unluckily/now expensively was missed.
3) The photograph presented was 1 second after the time of the alleged offence.

So the best course of action seems to be plead guilty with mitigation re the fixed penalty admin issues?
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Jlc
post Tue, 17 Sep 2019 - 10:49
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Let's just say you argued the limit should have been 70mph. You would still be found guilty. (That would put you in a lower sentencing band)

The 'admin' issue appears to be of your own making, although not connected with the offence itself - but it would take a generous court to use FP rate.

I don't see any relevance of the 1 second.

QUOTE (driverd @ Tue, 17 Sep 2019 - 11:38) *
So the best course of action seems to be plead guilty with mitigation re the fixed penalty admin issues?

You don't appear to have any actual mitigation.

You can quote the guidance around sentencing at fixed penalty equivalent sentencing. (But be careful how you explain why the offer was not accepted)


--------------------
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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driverd
post Tue, 17 Sep 2019 - 11:00
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If the argument succeded that the speed limit should have been 70mph.

The hadecs cameras only enforce when the variable speed limit signs are in operation and at 70mph these are turned off and therefore the HADECS do not enforce. This is a condition of the Home Office Type Approval for the device.

So in my case technically the camera should not have enforced and was in breach of the type approval and any evidence obtained from it would potentially be inadmissable in Court
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BaggieBoy
post Tue, 17 Sep 2019 - 11:12
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It has been widely reported (and we have had cases on here) where a HADECS device has triggered when no lower limit was displayed, there has never ever been any suggestion this was against type approval. Are you sure you are looking at the right info, the type approval for the HADECS3 devices is appropriate here.

Any way, in your case it was displaying 60, so I can't see your angle here?
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driverd
post Tue, 17 Sep 2019 - 11:27
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On the camera evidence pack i received from the enforcement unit it includes a letter which explicilty states that the cameras do not enforce when the variable speed limit are not in operation which is a condition of the type approval for the device.

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Fredd
post Tue, 17 Sep 2019 - 11:39
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QUOTE (driverd @ Tue, 17 Sep 2019 - 12:27) *
On the camera evidence pack i received from the enforcement unit it includes a letter which explicilty states that the cameras do not enforce when the variable speed limit are not in operation which is a condition of the type approval for the device.

Are you sure that's what it says? Because I can't see any reference to that in the Speedmeter Handbook, and in fact it explicitly refers to enforcing the national speed limit when no variable limit is displayed.


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driverd
post Tue, 17 Sep 2019 - 11:50
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I have added a screenshot from the letter re the issue of type approval
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Fredd
post Tue, 17 Sep 2019 - 12:01
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It does say they don't enforce when no speed limit is displayed, but it doesn't actually say that not enforcing the NSL is a condition of Type Approval.


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driverd
post Tue, 17 Sep 2019 - 12:17
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No speed limit displayed would indicate application of NSL.

I dont recall ever seeing a NSL sign on the gantry previously but may be mistaken.
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Jlc
post Tue, 17 Sep 2019 - 13:05
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The type approval wording is:
"...for the purpose of detection of offences ... RedFlex / Dynniq HADECS3 ... when operated with Techspan / Colas / VMS Advanced Motorway Indicator or MS4 Sign for the enforcement of displayed speed limits down to 20 miles per hour"

I wouldn't necessarily conflate the enforcement and a displayed limit.


--------------------
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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NewJudge
post Tue, 17 Sep 2019 - 13:43
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QUOTE (driverd @ Tue, 17 Sep 2019 - 12:00) *
So in my case technically the camera should not have enforced and was in breach of the type approval and any evidence obtained from it would potentially be inadmissable in Court

Best of luck with that! biggrin.gif

In any event, as mentioned, in your case a lower speed limit was clearly displayed. You would have to successfully argue that that lower limit was imposed unlawfully.

This post has been edited by NewJudge: Tue, 17 Sep 2019 - 13:47
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driverd
post Tue, 17 Sep 2019 - 13:57
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Challenging the displayed speed limit will be difficult.

Only possible if the Highways Agency admit an error (not going to happen)

OUTCOME - Plead guilty and swallow what ever the magistrate throws my way!
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southpaw82
post Tue, 17 Sep 2019 - 13:57
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QUOTE (NewJudge @ Tue, 17 Sep 2019 - 11:16) *
The limit: I should think that a court presented with a photograph of the "60" display, albeit one second after the offence (by which I assume you mean one second after your vehicle was photographed) will accept that the limit was on display as you passed the gantry. Cameras are not activated (to detect at the lower speed) until some time after it is displayed. To be successful you would have to convince the court that the "60" appeared in the one second between the two photographs being taken and that the camera taking a picture of your vehicle was activated immediately - a tough ask I would say.


So far as I know, the variable speed limits only come into force some time after the limit is displayed on the overhead gantry (“the grace period”). A defendant could put the prosecution to proof that the limit was in force at the time of the alleged offence. Evidence of the limit being displayed would not be proof, as it is displayed for a period of time before the limit comes into effect. I would imagine this would be proved by the logs (which in this case seem to be missing) or evidence that the camera will not operate at the displayed limit if the limit is not in force (i.e. the grace period has expired).

None of this is particularly relevant if the defendant was in any case exceeding 70mph - though it could, in some cases, be relevant to sentencing.

QUOTE (driverd @ Tue, 17 Sep 2019 - 12:00) *
So in my case technically the camera should not have enforced and was in breach of the type approval and any evidence obtained from it would potentially be inadmissable in Court

Inadmissible why?


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driverd
post Tue, 17 Sep 2019 - 14:12
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I explored the aspect of the time delay between the variable speed limit changing and the camera enforcing " the grace period" which is by default set at 1min and confirmed by the force in question

This is technically known as the "Aspect Set Delay".

The camera evidence provided shows the " time elapsed" since speed limit changed which shows a period of several hours. So i conceded i cannot argue the " Aspect set Delay"

Inadmissable is this the wrong legal term? Would "defective" be more appropriate to describe the evidence gathered

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southpaw82
post Tue, 17 Sep 2019 - 14:18
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QUOTE (driverd @ Tue, 17 Sep 2019 - 15:12) *
Inadmissable is this the wrong legal term? Would "defective" be more appropriate to describe the evidence gathered

I don’t know, you’re the one putting it forward - what do you mean?


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driverd
post Tue, 17 Sep 2019 - 14:35
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What i meant was that as the HADECS had not operated in accordance with the type approval therefore the vidence obtained through the device should not be.considered in this prosecution.

Justification being

The speed limit should have been 70 not 60
As the speed limit was 70 the variable signs should have been off
As the variable signs should have been off, the camera is not authorised to enforce under the HOTA.
Therefore disregard evidence obtained from it
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southpaw82
post Tue, 17 Sep 2019 - 14:38
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I can’t see the court disregarding relevant evidence, unless it is unreliable. In any case, your argument on type approval appears to be wrong.


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