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Not using a mobile phone: some Qs on points of law, Police officers' refusal to look at evidence in mobile phone case
moopind
post Fri, 16 Mar 2007 - 10:40
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I was pulled over by a marked car 2 days ago. The 2 officers said it was a video car and that they had just seen me driving whilst using a mobile phone. I was quite relaxed at first, assuming they would show me the relevant footage on the in-car screen, because I knew I hadn't been using the phone and it would show they'd followed the wrong car.

The officers said they couldn't show this, as it would mean stopping the recording of the interview. When I asked if they were sure they had a recording of me talking on a phone, the male officer said that the camera doesn't point the right way for them to have filmed it, but that the recording will show them noticing me on a phone.

I protested some more that I hadn't been using it and that this was a waste of everyone's time. The male officer said he had seen me with a phone with a silver rim. I argued that this described most phones, but as I got the phone out of my pocket (it has a silver rim) he said 'I've pretty much described your phone, see?'.

I insisted they look through the call register with me, but they were very reluctant. By this time I was quite wound up, but attempted to show the female officer that my last incoming call had been 25 minutes before, my last outgoing call the day before, my last connection to voicemail the day before and that there was a text message waiting to be opened from 10.47 (it was 12.05). The male officer asked me what my job was and asked if I worked for a company. I said I worked for the NHS and he said I might have a work phone and it could have been that I'd been using. I had a work phone switched off and in a bag, locked in the boot of my car but I have no other phones. I insisted he search me and the car to prove I couldn't have used any other phone. They refused saying 'If we did that every time we heard this kind of story...'. I insisted they take my phone as evidence, but they refused. I feel that at that point I had a means of proving beyond reasonable doubt that I couldn't have been on a mobile, but that they refused to investigate it because they couldn't be bothered.

I could eaasily afford the £60 and have an otherwise clean licence. I don't want to let this go, though, on principle. Will this defence stand up in court? Obviously, I can delete calls off my mobile, so they've missed their chance of taking that evidence.

Lastly, can I get the video and how?
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post Fri, 16 Mar 2007 - 10:40
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viper
post Fri, 16 Mar 2007 - 13:15
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Well you don’t have to have used the phone to make voice call/send text. If you had the phone out in you’re hand/on ear/whatever that is enough and the offence is committed.

You could deny the offence and have it heard before the magistrates. You would certainly be able to see and hear the video. It would be interesting to hear what the officer says.

In all honesty it’s very hard charge to get out of. It’s unlikely they would target someone who was not using phone as at moment you don’t exactly have to wait long to see someone using the phone. Obviously over the next few months I will imagine that situation will start to change


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moopind
post Fri, 16 Mar 2007 - 13:51
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QUOTE (viper @ Fri, 16 Mar 2007 - 13:15) *
Well you don’t have to have used the phone to make voice call/send text. If you had the phone out in you’re hand/on ear/whatever that is enough and the offence is committed.

But that's the point: it was in my pocket. They can't have seen that, because I wasn't using it. The phone registers when I make a voice call. I couldn't have sent a text because the most recent text was still there on the 'desktop', not opened. The evidence was there.

You could deny the offence and have it heard before the magistrates. You would certainly be able to see and hear the video. It would be interesting to hear what the officer says.

But how to get the video? And presumably I have to plead 'not guilty' and not pay the fine in order to be given access to the video?

In all honesty it’s very hard charge to get out of. It’s unlikely they would target someone who was not using phone as at moment you don’t exactly have to wait long to see someone using the phone. Obviously over the next few months I will imagine that situation will start to change


I agree: I think they made an error. Their refusal to investigate the evidence made it impossible for me to show I hadn't been speaking, so it's the word of 2 police officers against one member of the public. I'm sure my manner on the video will make it clear I'm either innocent or calling a MASSIVE bluff. It's whether a magistrate looks at that and also considers what I have to lose by losing in court (compared to a mere £60 fine + 3pts) and is convinced I'm not a liar....
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chadders
post Fri, 16 Mar 2007 - 14:49
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Get the call logs / invoices for all mobile phones - that'll show no calls/texts at the time.

I'm not sure of the exact law but logically:

QUOTE
Well you don’t have to have used the phone to make voice call/send text. If you had the phone out in you’re hand/on ear/whatever that is enough and the offence is committed.


That doesn't sound right, what if you substitute the word "banana" or such - or is the act of merely driving along holding a phone (say chewing on the aerial) enough?

I would have thought the law is "using" not "holding" icon_idea.gif
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