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DanBobz1
You will have to bare with me as this is a weird one.

I’m hoping for some feedback on this and whether you think I have a case or not.

On Friday the 16th September I arranged to view car through a private sale that was on eBay, after looking around the car for 10-15 minutes the owner asked me if I would like to test drive it, I purposely asked him if that was ok and he said ‘yes that’s fine’.

A few minutes into the test drive we were pulled over by a traffic officer as it turns out the car did not have a valid insurance policy on it; because I was driving I have been ticketed with 6 points and a £300 fine for driving a car without insurance.

Now based on the implication that the owner told me had been driving the car and it had a recent MOT, although I never checked that the car had a valid insurance policy which I know is my duty to do so (how many people honestly can say they do!), my genuine belief was that I was insured as both my insurance policies cover me to drive with 3rd party cover, any car with a valid insurance policy and the permission of the owner (who was in the passenger seat, he was ticketed for knowingly letting me drive the car without insurance and had his car seized). 

The officer who issued the ticket immediately told me ‘I strongly suggest you contest this ticket in court when you receive it’ I have a clean licence with no points, I have never even been pulled over by the police in 11 years of driving, I have had valid insurance policies the whole time and currently have 2 active full comprehensive policies, I have a well-established career as an Aerospace repair engineer that does require me to travel, with this in mind he said based on my situation in court I would stand a very good chance of contesting this, I’m looking for opinions on whether you think I would have a strong case? 

After speaking to numerous solicitors the opinions are mixed for both sides of the argument, currently I'm leaning towards a guilty plee and sending a letter of mitigation for the courts to deliberate...

is it even worth letting it go to court, or should I just suck it up and take the points and fine...
fedup2
"although I never checked that the car had a valid insurance policy which I know is my duty to do so"

I guess next time you will.

I cant see any real mitigation,you knew what your policy stated yet took the risk.
peterguk
IMHO, you have no defence. You made an assumption which turned out to be an incorrect one.
The Rookie
Check the terms of your policies, not all require the other vehicle to have insurance in place before they cover you, just as long as it's not your car or rented or hired by you.
DanBobz1
QUOTE (The Rookie @ Thu, 6 Oct 2016 - 18:35) *
Check the terms of your policies, not all require the other vehicle to have insurance in place before they cover you, just as long as it's not your car or rented or hired by you.


I have checked, both state 'as long as the car has a valid insurance policy and given the permission by the owner'.
andy_foster
Driving without insurance is a strict liability offence - as regards guilt, it doesn't matter whether or not you thought you were insured, merely that you drove on a road or other public place without insurance.
Upon conviction, the court would be required to endorse your licence with 6-8 points, unless they found that there were special reasons not to endorse (SRNTE). General mitigation might have an effect on the fine, but if you are on good money, general mitigation is unlikely to bring the fine down to anywhere near fixed penalty level.

SRNTE must be,
mitigating circumstances,
relating to the commission of the offence (why you did it),
that do not constitute a defence (if it was a defence, you would not need mitigation), and
are such that the court ought to take into consideration (other than not being a feeble excuse, this pretty much means whatever the court wants it to mean),

In general, making an incorrect assumption that you were insured does not constitute SRNTE. Being specifically misled can.

You did not specifically ask if the vehicle was insured, and you did not question the seller's glib assurance that it was ok to take it for a test drive - he made no attempt to ascertain whether you were covered to drive other vehicles, so unless you assumed that his car was insured for any driver (very unlikely with a privately owned vehicle), he was in no position to say that you were insured.

From what you have told us, you do not have the most compelling SRNTE argument, but that is not to say that a sympathetic bench might not find SRNTE. Effectively, if you reject the fixed penalty, you would be risking a larger fine in court if SRNTE fails vs no points (and possibly a lower or no fine) if SRNTE succeeds.
NewJudge
In the above answer andy explains the "Special Reasons" position most clearly. In my view you are unlikely to succed based upon what you have told us. You did not specifically ask about the vehicle's insurance status so you were not misled. Even if you had asked, most Benches would have expected you to see written evidence of cover rather than just accept a verbal assertion.
dacouc
QUOTE (DanBobz1 @ Thu, 6 Oct 2016 - 18:40) *
QUOTE (The Rookie @ Thu, 6 Oct 2016 - 18:35) *
Check the terms of your policies, not all require the other vehicle to have insurance in place before they cover you, just as long as it's not your car or rented or hired by you.


I have checked, both state 'as long as the car has a valid insurance policy and given the permission by the owner'.


Does it say that in your Policy Booklet or does it say it on the Certificate of Insurance?
DanBobz1
QUOTE (dacouc @ Thu, 6 Oct 2016 - 22:57) *
QUOTE (DanBobz1 @ Thu, 6 Oct 2016 - 18:40) *
QUOTE (The Rookie @ Thu, 6 Oct 2016 - 18:35) *
Check the terms of your policies, not all require the other vehicle to have insurance in place before they cover you, just as long as it's not your car or rented or hired by you.


I have checked, both state 'as long as the car has a valid insurance policy and given the permission by the owner'.


Does it say that in your Policy Booklet or does it say it on the Certificate of Insurance?


Its stated on the certificate of insurance;

'Cover is for third party only and in any case there will be no cover unless a current and valid policy of insurance is in force for the private motor car being driven'

The other policy is worded the same.
The Rookie
Basically bu66ered then I'm afraid.

If you had asked specifically if the car was insured and got a response in the affirmative then SRNTE would have had a chance, while meaningless these days seeing a certificate of insurance would have helped even more.

Due to abuses, the days of being able to test drive and then buy and drive home a new car on your insurance without an issue have gone.
DanBobz1
I'm guessing the hold my hands up I've made an honest mistake, fully regret my actions, clean licence for 11 years good career etc is stuff they have heard all before...

And wouldn't be worth my time trying? It's the points more than anything and the type of conviction that are going to have the worst effect for me sad.gif
Jlc
As noted above, you do not appear to have a defence - the offence was complete.

The court should find you guilty but stranger things can happen.

You can either plead not guilty but this will open you up to costs and a loss of discount but you'd have to show you had cover. A guilty plea trying SRNTE is probably a safer option but is also likely to fail but at least you can avoid the large costs and loss of discount.
The Rookie
As you appear to still have time to accept the fixed penalty(?) I'd be accepting that if you can.
Jlc
QUOTE (The Rookie @ Fri, 7 Oct 2016 - 12:34) *
As you appear to still have time to accept the fixed penalty(?) I'd be accepting that if you can.

That does indeed avoid a prosecution and has a known outcome.

At court, the points are likely to be the same (6) - but the fine and costs will exceed the offer.
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