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Guilty in Manchester
dave99
post Tue, 22 Jun 2004 - 13:48
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Oh dear, I was in manchester mags court today for a speeding only case with a non yorke compliant unsigned form. The outcome was a rather nasty £250 fine + £250 costs and 5 penalty points (60 in a 40 zone). I did have the nerve (as cjm99 put it) to ask if I could pay at £40/month so I am paying less than 10 quid a week - that is about the only "good" thing to come out of this morning.

I thought I had reasonable arguments against most of the prosecutions evidence, but some of the points that arose were...

* I drew the short straw with the prosecutor who turned out to be a proper barrister from another firm rather than your standard CPS bod. The clerk was exceptionally helpful, giving me pointers and letting me out a few times so I could have a chat with cjm99. The mags seemed helpful too but I still think they had me down as guilty from the off.

* The photo from the LTi20.20 comes directly from the equipment and *NOT* from the video. I had requested disclosure of the video and it never turned up - it did however turn up in court today but the prosecution did not intend to use it (and it "doesnt really show much" according to the prosecutor - not sure he should have said that to the mags if it was unused though!). The police officer was adamant that the photo comes from the camera and not off the video so the video issue was basically ignored.

* The police officer was in attendance and said all the right things about forming a prior opinion before measring speed etc. I did object to his certificate of competance and equipment calibration certificates because they were on the list of unused prosecution material, and I submitted if this had changed then the defence had been mislead - the officer said they were the only forms they had to put information on and the magistrates ruled the evidence as admissible which I dont understand.

* The prosecuter admitted the unsigned S172 form as a confession to which I objected due to lack of PACE caution. He responded with Justice Owens statement that s172 comes under the exceptions of pace code c.10 and is law until overturned in the HoL.

* The mags stated there was a case to answer. When presenting the defence, I brought up european case law (Edwards v UK) but the clerk would not let me continue down that road as I had not submitted a skeleton argument and so the prosecution would have been ambushed. I changed this to state attourney general guidelines on disclosure and not having the video thus not being able to fully prepare the defence - obviously made no difference.

The magistrate said they did not take any negative inferences from me not entering the witness box. The evidence presented by the prosecution was enough to support the allegation and so they found me guilty. She gave me a lecture about how dangerous speeding was and that I was 'lucky' that no pedestrian had tried to cross this very safe dual carriageway where pedestrians are never seen. She even suggested that they could have banned me but decided not to - I would have been done for contempt if she had I think icon_evil.gif . Could I pay the 500 pounds fine right away? no chance! I asked for 40 quid a month (I had submitted a means form) and she looked a little shocked and said "that is £10 a month" (it doesnt sound much when put in weekly terms does it!) - they accepted my offer though so it doesnt affect me too much. We will just have to see how the 5 points affects my insurance later in the year.

In hindsight, perhaps I should have taken the clerks suggestion of applying for an adjournement to get the video analysed by an expert witness, or having an adjournement to allow the european case law arguments to be submitted to the prosecution - however I didnt really feel like coming back and doing it all again.


sorry if my mind is in a bit of a whirl - it was a long 3 or 4 hours in there and I havent calmed down yet. If I think of anything else later I will stick it up here. I would love to appeal the verdict but it is a very big commitment to make. I will probably just leave it as is icon_cry.gif
Thanks to Chris for coming down and giving me lots of support - I hope he has better luck in the same place later in the year.

Dave.
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post Tue, 22 Jun 2004 - 13:48
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matt1133
post Tue, 22 Jun 2004 - 13:57
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unlucky mate, i know how tough it is in the court it can be bloody intimidating as they all know exactly what they are doing, and it can leave the normal bloke trying to defend themselves a bit confused, they seem to do what they want in there.


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AtW
post Tue, 22 Jun 2004 - 13:57
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Sorry to hear about it! sad.gif

QUOTE (dave99)
The clerk was exceptionally helpful, giving me pointers and letting me out a few times so I could have a chat with cjm99.


Was it not a better idea to get cjm99 as your McKenzie (sp?) friend???
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peteturbo
post Tue, 22 Jun 2004 - 14:33
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Sounds like you were very brave to go it alone, and gave it a very good shot.
It also sounds like you kept your wits about you despite all the intimidation.
Well done, and unlucky.
Surely, if you can face it, you have grounds for appeal on availability of information. Just because they didn't use it, they had valuable information about your case which they refused to show you.
PLus the barrister and the size of fine goes to malicious prosecution etc

Sod it, Im going home to put my money where my mouth is and 'fund the fight'.

There are people that talk and people that do. You have done. We are in your debt.

peteturbo
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doublej
post Tue, 22 Jun 2004 - 15:30
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ouch - that's a stiff one.


bad luck dave. well done for having a go and thanks for posting your notes here. They will prove helpful to others, including me - since i'm entering my not guilty plea today.

jj
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cjm99
post Tue, 22 Jun 2004 - 15:30
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I have already offered my comiserations to Dave, but for the record, I shall again express my sorrow.

There is little I can add to Dave's post. He was indeed very unlucky to get a barrister due to lack of normal CPS prosecutors. And in all failness to the court process, the clerk was very knowledgeable, and fair. Even to the point of being helpfull.

The key point that scupperd Daves case, was that the Lti20-20 records a video tape of events, but simultaneously prints a hard copy photograph. It does not create the hard copy from the tape. Thus it was argued, the prosecution did not rely on the tape, as the photo is in itself a contemporaneous record of the event. Dave was offerd the oportunity to apply for an adjournment for disclosure ( NB. only an extract of the sesion was available) which he declined.

The police officer was experienced, and said all the right things. Due to the pressure of the situation, Dave did not ask him how many times in the session he had triggered a measurement of speed. I was trying to hint this to him from behind, but was told, not for the first time to shut up.

If there is one lesson to be learnt from this, it is that as a lay defendant, you must take a Mackenzie friend. The pressure of the situation, coupled with the degree of familiarity that all other partisipants have makes it all but impossible to think quickly and objectively to properly force your point.
Someone else to listen and spot oportunities is vital.

On a brighter note, I did love it when Dave offered to pay his £500 at £40 per month. icon_eek.gif This equates to £8.88 per week!!!

Cheer up Dave, try to get the afternoon in October in your diary, and I promise they will get a bloody good run for their pieces of silver.

Very best regards Chris


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DW190
post Tue, 22 Jun 2004 - 15:55
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Thought I'd wait for your post Chris as Dave will be a little on the down side.

Sorry about the outcome but half expected the voluntary confession aspect.

I still feel that a high profile mouthpiece could come good with the available knowledge of PACE and Europian Case Law. Its just a matter of time.

Did the available photos show any thing that could identify the speed other than a number.


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keycare
post Tue, 22 Jun 2004 - 17:17
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Did they disclose the photographs? If so how many did they disclose? How clear were they?
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dave99
post Tue, 22 Jun 2004 - 18:08
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there was one photograph disclosed - it was very clear although I wasnt particularly happy about the targetting of the crosshairs which were on my rather curvacious bonnet instead of the area around the number plate as suggested in ACPO guidelines (the officers reply was along the lines of "a marksman wouldnt hit the bullseye every time").

It just p!sses me off you get hit so much harder for standing up for your rights. Why should we be "coerced" into submitting to a charge without ever seeing the evidence? icon_evil.gif
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dave99
post Tue, 22 Jun 2004 - 18:20
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QUOTE (cjm99)
I was trying to hint this to him from behind, but was told, not for the first time to shut up.


May I just point out that it wasnt me telling Chris to shut up but both the clerk and the head magistrate - just keeping up the "naughty boys" reputation I think laugh.gif
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jimmy ferrari
post Tue, 22 Jun 2004 - 18:25
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Dave sorry to here of that outcome, we only went through 'slip factor' today in Cardiff and if the laser and cross hairs were aligned :!: and the bonnet was targeted that would produce slip factor and a spurious reading icon_eek.gif Sorry it all seems a bit late now.
From what I am reading they are refusing most people their full video session which after watching P. Lee's should be compulsory so that you can assertain that procedures have been followed. Never mind this 'you can have a photo or six seconds worth' cr4p.
This has to be resolved


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DW190
post Tue, 22 Jun 2004 - 18:51
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QUOTE
we only went through 'slip factor' today in Cardiff and if the laser and cross hairs were aligned and the bonnet was targeted that would produce slip factor and a spurious reading Sorry it all seems a bit late now.


Maybe not!

Dave99 has 21 days to appeal if he so wishes.


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peteturbo
post Tue, 22 Jun 2004 - 19:01
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Have I been sleeping?

Suddenly overnight we no longer have full disclosure of a document?

Just cos the prosecution take some stills and dont use the full video, its still a document and we have the right for the whole.

I take it this is just a local magistrates thing so has no real weight?

What about the same in Cardiff?

Peteturbo - member now, as promised!
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Odd Job
post Tue, 22 Jun 2004 - 19:58
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Sorry to hear the outcome Dave. It sounds as though you have very good grounds for appeal though (hopefully even more so after the events in Cardiff). I think you should definately appeal the costs. Why should you have to pay the fees of a barrister just cos the CPS had run out of puppets (or should that be muppets). And as for 5 points, where did they get that from ? I haven't had a chance to look at the points guidlines yet (wherever they are), but 5 points for 20 over the limit seems very harsh indeed.

I honestly think that you need to appeal the whole case. There are so many discrepancies in there that [again] it makes a mockery of the whole British legal system( thank god I'm no longer part of it).

IMHO of course

OJ
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dave99
post Tue, 22 Jun 2004 - 20:34
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you would have thought I was doing 115 as someone did in another thread the way the mag spoke to me. "exceeding the limit by so much is clearly very dangerous" or words to that effect - it was a damn dual carriageway for gods sake (I know that is no excuse, but it certainly was not a dangerous speed for the road conditions - the fact 87 vehicles were caught in 55 minutes makes me think the limit is incorrectly set on that section of road!).

I think 20mph over the limit can attract 5 points. I did ask about appeals and the clerk said I had 21 days to submit a request and that I should see a solicitor for that. He actually said something like "you would probably want to appeal the sentance and the verdict" - I dont know if that was a hint or just stating the options.

I assume when I declare the conviction at insurance renewal I say I was fined £250 - the £250 costs is not part of the conviction? Oh and I asked where the £250 costs came from - he split it into £125 for his fee (4 hours in court) and then court time, their witness being present and CPS time. They just make it up as they go along.
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peteturbo
post Tue, 22 Jun 2004 - 21:00
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Sometimes such a bad result makes the appeal easier.

As is often said on this forum - save your money for the appeal.

And 115 on whatever vs 60 in a 40 vs 20 outside a school in the snow. Speed is irrelevant, justice is relevant.

Peteturbo
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AtW
post Tue, 22 Jun 2004 - 21:29
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QUOTE (dave99)
he split it into £125 for his fee (4 hours in court) and then court time, their witness being present and CPS time.


£125 for 4 hours is pretty cheap for a barrister icon_eek.gif
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dave99
post Tue, 22 Jun 2004 - 21:32
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the costs are only a 'contribution' to the total costs though arent they - I wouldnt mind betting he got paid that much per hour.
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Mika
post Wed, 23 Jun 2004 - 07:10
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Hi Dave,

In my opinion, you should consider an appeal. icon_idea.gif

You may have deliberately been deprived of crucial evidence (the traffic video) that had been required to prepare your defence.

Are you able to attend court 7 at Cardiff Crown Court this morning?.... icon_wink.gif


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cjm99
post Wed, 23 Jun 2004 - 07:14
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Mika

Dave was asked by the clark if he wished an adjournment to obtain the video. He declined, and asked for the trial to procede

Chris


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