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Summons arrives 8mths after offence, but summons date just within 6m - is it valid?
aabbcc
post Sat, 23 Jun 2007 - 12:54
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Hi Everyone,

This is my first time (done for) speeding, nervous about it, and need your expert advice on how to proceed please. I was stopped by road police using a Pro Laser III after the elevated section of the North Circ A406 westbound after Brent Cross for excessive speed. I was allegedly doing 75 in a 40 limit. Conditions were Sunday morning, 9am ish, traffic conditions light. Traffic police was down a side road perpendicular to A406 (Coles Green Road) but claims he was facing parallel to A406. Police car was at ground level and out of my vision, whilst i was coming down the elevated section of the A406. The police claim I was doing 75 in a 40 limit and their vehicle was at 380 feet away.

Date of offence: 05Nov06
Date of Summons (magistrates'): 26Apr07
Date of Summons received: 22Jun07
Date of mailing of Summons: 21Jun07

All documents received since offence (05Nov06):
a) 22Jun07: Notice to defendant to appear at Magistrates' Court (Oct07)
b) 22Jun07: Letter agree/disagree with witness statements (road police officer) and whether I require his attendence at court hearing (reply by 7days)
c) 22Jun07: Witness Statement (copy, written on date of offence). This details location, conditions at which speed was taken and with a Pro Laser III gun. The statement also says that "I would be reported" (is this a verbal NIP?)
d) 22Jun07: A small slip (copy) headed "Reporting Notes" which details offence and time of reporting. I was asked to sign this (did I seal my fate?).
e) 22Jun07: HO/RT1 (copy). Had to take this to a police station with licence, insurance, MOT etc.
f) 22Jun07: The Summons paper (yellow and white carbon copy), issued 26Apr07, which asks for income details etc.

Clearly, my main question is: do they have a case against me given what I have recieved on the dates, and that I did not receive any NIP through the post. Owing to shock on day of offence I cannot remember if a verbal NIP was served (I would not have known what an NIP was anyway as it's my first time).

The summons was issued on 26Apr07, just within 6m of the offence date, though I received this document on the 21Jun07 (7+ months). Is the summons valid from a date perspective?

Given document b), how should I reply - agree with statements or disagree?

What could be my likely penalty?

Please be so kind to provide some advice as to what I should do next and whether to seek a solicitor who specialises in road offences to help me. I am not familiar with this whole game, but any help will be very much appreciated! Thanks!
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post Sat, 23 Jun 2007 - 12:54
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aabbcc
post Sat, 23 Jun 2007 - 13:09
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Oh, further to the above re NIP, I was asked about my name, address, and whether if I was the keeper of the car. I provided the details to the officer at the time of the offence. Is this why I have not received an NIP by mail because they knew who the driver was, and hence no NIP required? Oh dear.
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firefly
post Sat, 23 Jun 2007 - 13:14
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Whether or not a solicitor is advisable depends on your financial situation. Typically a motoring solicitor will charge a good few hundred quid to represent you and give mitigation at court.

As for not remembering if you received a verbal NIP... The policeman(men)? will say that they did, and the court will believe them (unless you can show they didn't).

The summons looks as though it has been backdated to fall within the required timeframe, though - as ever - proving this will be virtually impossible.

As for the punishment: a short ban cannot be ruled out, but 4-6 points seems more likely. Don't take my word for it, though, it's in the lap of the gods as to what the magistrates will do.


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aabbcc
post Sat, 23 Jun 2007 - 17:32
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Thanks Firefly for response. If a motoring solicitor can reduce the length of ban/fine then I should consult one as I need the use of my car. Thanks again!
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aabbcc
post Mon, 25 Jun 2007 - 08:18
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Given my situation (75 in 40), how much reduction of fine or avoidance of ban can I expect a defence lawyer to save me? It has been suggested to me that my next course of action is to call the magistrates court and ask fo names of local motoring lawyers - is that the correct course of action? Suggestions and help welcomed!
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The Rookie
post Mon, 25 Jun 2007 - 09:17
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The magistrates court won't help you know, just look in the yellow pages as a starter.

You are likely to be banned, if they are considering this you may want to show that a ban will cause exceptional hardship to others (you don't count as its your own fault), if they are considering a ban and you pursaude them not to you will get more points and a bigger fine, you may consider a 28 day ban preferable.

To reduce the penalty, turn up suited and booted, be polite and remorseful.

Simon


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aabbcc
post Mon, 25 Jun 2007 - 13:19
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Simon, thanks a million. I'm in two minds to fight it or not considering a few uncertainties exist - namely no recorded proof of camera reading, witness statement (police) says I was travelling toward him rather than from him, and that I was on the elevated section of a major London "A" road (3 lanes each way) where the barriers are solid concrete, so how could he see me? Solicitors fees are a lot to fight the case in court and I'm struggling to assess whether if it's worth it.
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aabbcc
post Tue, 26 Jun 2007 - 08:22
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Just received my summons last Friday (22Jun07) for being stopped for doing 75 in 40. That makes it almost 8 months since being stopped by police. However, summons date (as printed) is just within 6m of date of being stopped. Is the summons still valid and is the lengthy time (2m) for the magistrates to send it "reasonable"? Any advice would be appreciated - thanks!
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nemo
post Tue, 26 Jun 2007 - 08:30
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QUOTE (aabbcc @ Tue, 26 Jun 2007 - 09:22) *
Just received my summons last Friday (22Jun07) for being stopped for doing 75 in 40. That makes it almost 8 months since being stopped by police. However, summons date (as printed) is just within 6m of date of being stopped. Is the summons still valid and is the lengthy time (2m) for the magistrates to send it "reasonable"? Any advice would be appreciated - thanks!

As Firefly has already pointed out, whilst it is very tempting to presume that the information had been backdated to give the impression of it being laid in time, proving this was the case would be nigh on impossible.

And if backdating cannot be proven, then the summons will be regarded as being laid within time.
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nemo
post Tue, 26 Jun 2007 - 08:39
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Hi aabbcc,

Just a quick heads up but there is a forum rule of one case, one thread wink.gif - trying to follow multiple spin-off threads which effectively refer to a single case is difficult, if not impossible..

Your original thread has been updated here.. smile.gif
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aabbcc
post Tue, 26 Jun 2007 - 08:44
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Nemo, thanks. Will revert back to original thread. New to concept of forums!
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nemo
post Tue, 26 Jun 2007 - 08:46
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QUOTE (aabbcc @ Tue, 26 Jun 2007 - 09:44) *
Nemo, thanks. Will revert back to original thread. New to concept of forums!

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firefly
post Tue, 26 Jun 2007 - 10:51
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Have joined the two together.


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cjm99
post Tue, 26 Jun 2007 - 11:11
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You may wish to read Attached File  Laying_informations___Atkinson.doc ( 58K ) Number of downloads: 198

The onus of proof will lie with the Crown.

You will have to be tried in the magistrates court because the speed indicates that a ban will at the least be considered. (if guilty, you will be).

Enter a not guilty plea, later, you should put them on notice to prove the information was 'complete' and laid within the six months, and explain fully the delay in summons service.


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RossM3
post Wed, 27 Jun 2007 - 18:19
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QUOTE (aabbcc @ Mon, 25 Jun 2007 - 09:18) *
Given my situation (75 in 40), how much reduction of fine or avoidance of ban can I expect a defence lawyer to save me? It has been suggested to me that my next course of action is to call the magistrates court and ask fo names of local motoring lawyers - is that the correct course of action? Suggestions and help welcomed!


I was in court today for 74 in a 40 & I got 6 points & £300 fine. I was advised by a solicitor beforehand that if you are capable of speaking intelligently in court re the case then you may as well save a few hundred on solicitors fees as the solicitor can only make the same points as you in mitigation..(If you intend to go not guilty obviously). Also he mentioned that magistrates tend to fine people who attend with a brief higher amounts 'as they seem like they can afford it'.
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potkettleblack
post Fri, 29 Jun 2007 - 23:43
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Interesting case link cjm99.

"3. Nowadays there is a computer system, to which the police and magistrates have access, in which the police may enter details of an alleged offence which, as they enter them, are at the same time entered on the computer at the magistrates' court. "

A technical argument follows, need some help on the legality.

Technically the Judge's statement is not correct unless the police and mags happen to be in the same building. Envisage shopping online: if you don't hit 'buy' or 'send' and you loose internet connection, the shop has no record of your order. It was only on your local computer. The same will be true of the police and magistrates' system. Untill the police click 'validate' the information isn't complete anyway, and is only on the police computer. When they click, it gets sent to the central computer.

The information is only transfered to the magistrates computer when the magistrate logs on, AND accesses that particular record. Until then it is only on the central computer.

It seems to me the crucial question is, where is the central computer? It might be in the courts if each court only has access to local cases. However if it is a regional or national database it is more likely to be in a service building outside the courts.

Another possibility is there are two computers and they synchonise, probably overnight, thus adding a day to the information date.

From the Atkinson case it seems that the magnetic record on the hard disk constitutes laying an information. I am amazed that no viewing by a human is required, but the Magistrates act 1980 uses passive English - 'unless the information was laid'. Is there any case law on this?

At best, it seems that the CPS could argue a Justice of the Peace works in the same building as the central computer, which means when the electrons arrive the information is laid. If the central computer is not in a courthouse, then the information can't have been laid before a JoP since it never got near one!
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