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Alphaman101
Suppose there is a murder investigation and you have been arrested and are in a police interview room and the interviewer shows you a CCTV photograph with a person with their back turned to the camera wearing similar clothes to what you wear usually and of similar build and height. You are well within your right to refuse to answer whether you were at the scene of that cctv footage and to refuse to admit that it was you. Asking confirmation that this person is you does not mean you are saying you are guilty- yet you are still allowed to give no comment.
Neither does identifying yourself as the driver mean you are guilty when a NIP comes through your letter box. So why must you do it in case 2 but not case 1 when they are both simply asking for identification and not self incrimination?
southpaw82
Would it be too flippant to say “because that’s the law”?

In your first example, you are entitled to refuse to answer but (depending on the circumstances) an adverse inference could be drawn.

In your second example you could also refuse to answer but you might commit an offence by doing so. The law is there because of a social policy of requiring the keepers of vehicles, and others, to identify the driver when the vehicle is alleged to be involved in an offence.
Alphaman101
Yes, it is a little flippant smile.gif

You basically responded to my question of "Why is the law the law?" by saying "Because it just is".

Ok then... So why not also make it an offence to self identify once in custody? Or is that another "because they just don't?"
southpaw82
QUOTE (Alphaman101 @ Sat, 13 Apr 2019 - 17:33) *
You basically responded to my question of "Why is the law the law?" by saying "Because it just is".


Well, I did explain the reason behind the law you’re enquiring about, namely s 172 of the Road Traffic Act 1988.

QUOTE
Ok then... So why not also make it an offence to self identify once in custody? Or is that another "because they just don't?"

As a general rule, criminalising someone for not incriminating themselves is a no-no (see Saunders v UK). There are, however, plenty of laws that do it - just two examples being the Insolvency Act 1986 and the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974. These laws generally fall into two types:

1. Failing to provide information, even where it self-incriminates, is an offence but any information so obtained cannot be admitted in any criminal proceedings against you - the vast majority fall into this category.

2. Provision of information is required and it’s an offence not to. The information can be used against you. This can only be done where there is a pressing social need and it’s a proportionate response (see O’Halloran & Francis v UK).

You’d never be able to pass the test in 2 for an offence of murder to make self-incrimination ECHR compliant.
notmeatloaf
https://www.bailii.org/eu/cases/ECHR/2007/544.html

tell you everything you need to know.

Essentially it recognises that motor vehicles are a special case: there is a strong public interest in identifying motorists that cannot practically be met in any way other than the provision of S172.

I'm not really sure if the hypothetical situation you envisage is desirable to motorists anyway. If S172 was done away with and police instead used camera footage of drivers to identify offenders. If you do a ton on the motorway, an image of you is published asking for members of the public to contact police with your identity. Doesn't seem like a return to some halcyon society.
andy_foster
Some might say that reading the dissenting judgments might tell you more than reading the majority judgment.
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