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mariem3
Hello. Apologies for the essay and unfortunately the road markings on Google aren't up to date to check.
On 7th October at just after 7pm (dark) I was driving from Annan to Carlilse. I would normally use the A75 that bypasses Annan but it closed just before 7pm for overnight resurfacing so I used the B721 through Annan itself. Traffic from the A75 was diverted onto the B721 at the far outskirts of Annan. I drove through the town in a queue of traffic to the roundabout where the diverted traffic met the B721 and had to wait a few minutes to join the flow of traffic. I joined the diverted traffic behind an HGV. This short stretch of road has a 30mph speed restriction that then goes into a 40mph speed restriction out into the countryside towards the village of Dornock about a mile away. There is an unbroken white line until the houses and streetlamps end then a broken white line until the end of speed restriction about a third of a mile further on. The HGV was travelling at approx. 30 - 35 mph and I assumed (wrongly) that the 40 speed limit ended after the houses and streetlights stopped and the line became broken. I was aware of a car queue hopping behind me and assumed (wrongly again) that it was just an aggressive driver in a hurry. When the road ahead was clear I passed the slow moving HGV and continued at about 50mph to the village where I slowed to approx 25 mph. The car behind also passed it and followed me into the village where it transpired that it was a police car that pulled me over.
The policeman stated that he had never seen such appalling driving as the way I had driven through Annan, That when overtaking the HGV in a 40mph zone I had got up to 52mph and that I was two car lengths over an unbroken white line when I pulled back in after overtaking. I was taken aback because I had driven through Annan in a fairly slow moving queue of traffic (there is cctv so I may be able to verify this) and I definitely did not cross an unbroken line. I accepted that I had misjudged the speed restriction and that I would have gone over 40mph to pass the HGV but I said that I had definitely not crossed the unbroken line or driven wildly through Annan. This seemed to anger the policeman who aggressively ordered me to get into the patrol car. The driver had a very reasonable attitude but agreed with his colleague and advised that I would be charged with speeding and crossing an unbroken line.
I have now received the documentation from the procurator fiscal which states that whilst on patrol the policemen observed me travelling at excessive speed and 'followed at a uniform distance and calculated the car's average speed at 52mph by means of the calibrated speedometer .... over a distance of 0.4 miles.'
It goes on to say ' they thereafter observed the said motor car overtake a white HGV and in doing so fully cross the unbroken lines at a part thereof near to the national speed limit sign...'

I fully accept that I broke the speed limit while passing the HGV, as I began the manouvre within the restricted area, although I completed it past the national speed limit sign. From that perspective I am prepared to plead guilty to speeding. But they have made it sound far worse than that. There is no way that I was travelling at an average speed of 52mph whilst behind the HGV for 0.4 miles which is what they are now saying. I drive a 1997 toyota corolla deisel (not turbo) with 185000 on the clock and it would probably take 0.4 miles to get up to 60 from a standing start at the roundabout.

I absolutely did not cross the unbroken lines at any time. The area near the national speed limit sign does not have unbroken lines from about 5-600 yards before the sign until 20-30 yards after.

They have not mentioned the accusation of 'appalling' driving through Annan which is the only bit I could possibly produce evidence for.

They have also stated 'The accused was informed of the nature of the police stop and advised of the method of detection. The accused viewed the device used to detect her speed and its operation was explained to her.' This never happened and they state earlier that they used their car speedometer.

They have also stated that traffic was light. This is totally untrue because all traffic was being diverted from the A75 which is why there were HGVs on the road at 7pm on a Friday night.

Is there any way I can contest this? I accept that I broke the speed limit to pass the HGV and would not hesitate to plead guilty if that was what they had stated but I don't want to plead guity to something I never did. Can anyone advise over my best course of action please? I have a clean license with no previous points/ convictions etc.






3phase278
QUOTE (mariem3 @ Tue, 15 Nov 2011 - 19:56) *
I accept that I broke the speed limit to pass the HGV and would not hesitate to plead guilty if that was what they had stated


what exactly have you been charged with?

Reading between the lines (excuse the pun) you accept you were speeding to overtake but have an issue with crossing an unbroken line? Why? Have they charged you with 'careless' or 'dangerous' driving'?
mariem3
I've been charged with 1. 'driving a motor vehicle at a speed exceeding 40mph, namely a speed of 52mph' and also 2.'failing to comply with the road indication so that the vehicle should not cross or straddle the first mentioned continuous line.' Nothing mentions careless or dangerous driving. Just the two charges.
I accept that I was speeding to overtake but that's a different thing to an average speed of 52mph for 0.4 miles. That implies a much higher speed and I'm concerned that that will be viewed more negatively with a worse outcome? I'm particularly concerned that the police have totally changed what they said to me and I suspect it's because it could be contested.
mariem3
Anyone?

If I plead guilty to speeding but Not guilty to contravening the unbroken line will they just take the PC's word over mine and will it make things more awkward for me?
Grateful for any advice / info.
The Rookie
If it's 2 PC's word against yours, the PC's having nothing to gain by lying, you everything to gain (a NG verdict) who do you think the courts will believe?

Simon
desktop_demon
Was the police car equipped with an in car camera? If so it might show whether a defence can be raised to the charge of crossing the white lines. Are there any other cameras in the location that might show the situation more clearly?

As has been said the OP may well feel they have been falsely accused and in some instances that has shown to be the case. But the magistrates will tend to give more weight to two police occifers rather than one defendant. It sucks but it happens. Hence the reticence by some members to advise on a defence. However I fully sympathise with the OP's predicament. if the OP feels a speeding charge is accepted but that crossing the white lines is not - then I advise pleading guilty to speeding but not guilty to failing to observe the road signs. However that is the easy bit. Making a good defence case is more than ticking a box on a form. How would the OP go about proving the officers were "mistaken"? . Maybe some questioning of the witness as regards where the "follow check" was performed and when a constant distance was maintained. If the police car had to overtake then it is not the correct way to do a follow check.... On the face of the facts reported there is not a lot to go on so far

But where there is a will - there is a way. Good luck!
mariem3
Thanks for your input Rookie. I do not lie. Pleading guilty would be lying.

Thanks for the info Desktop Demon, much appreciated. Unfortunately there are no cameras on that stretch or in the police car, and I was never shown anything in the police car.The PCs have stated that traffic was light but east bound traffic was heavy (due to the A75 being closed) resulting in a long queue with the slow moving HGV at its head. There are traffic flow cameras on the A75 that would show the volume being diverted at that time. Could that be accessed to corroborate the fact that the pcs are mistaken about traffic flow in their statement. They had to queue hop to get behind me and we were both then behind the hgv at the point that they are now saying I did an average 52mph for 0.4 miles. Initially they said that I had reached 52mph whilst passing the hgv which I probably did (The hgv was doing about 30-35) and I have no qualms about paying for my wrongdoing. Initially they also said that they had were behind me from Annan center and 'couldn't you see the big blue light' but I said that I knew that they hadn't because I'd seen them queue hopping in my rear view mirror and that the cameras in annan would verify that. They now state that they only started following me for the 0.4 miles from the roundabout I guess that I'm onto a loser re the unbroken line in that I don't think I can prove anything in the face of the two officers' expert opinion. But I can't accept that I should plead guilty to crossing the line when I know, absolutely, that I didn't, even if the principle costs me. I've got until Jan for the court case so will give it some thought. Incidentally,don't traffic vehicles have cameras in them? Could I request video imagery from the police if they have it? Thanks again.
Logician
As you accept that you were speeding when overtaking, although not at other times, it seems you should plead guilty to that. Scotland does not have guidelines for the offence, but in England and Wales 52 in a 40 would be in the lowest band for the offence. Just possibly, if you plead G to the speeding, the other charge will be dropped. There seems little point in taking that to trial from the PF's point of view, since you would get no further penalty points even if found G.
mariem3
Thanks Logician. The PCs said that it would probably be a minimum of 6 penalty points plus a fine but I'll just have to see what happens. Thanks for your reply.
Logician
The PCs may not have been aware of The Road Traffic Offenders Act 1988 s28(4) which states that only the higher number of points is given when a driver commits 2 or more offences on the same occasion. The court can decide against that and give points for both, but if it does has to state its reasons and have them recorded on the court register. It is very rare for this to happen.

Therefore if you were found guilty (or pleaded G) to the white line offence, it should not result in any more points, but there would be another fine. Scotland does tend to go harder on road traffic offenders than England and Wales, but I doubt that an offence that would merit 3 points in E&W would get a minimum of 6 in Scotland.
The Rookie
QUOTE (mariem3 @ Wed, 16 Nov 2011 - 17:15) *
Thanks for your input Rookie. I do not lie. Pleading guilty would be lying.

Pleading guilty to an offence you don't think you commited is not lying, but that is semantics, I'm just trying to say that without a viable defence, you sometimes have to take the pragmatic approach.

Simon
mariem3
That's interesting, thanks again for that info Logician. I must admit to assuming that the police had a good working knowledge of law so am surprised that this may not be the case.

Thanks for the clarification Simon.

I realise that I need some evidence for a not guilty plea(for crossing the line. I will plead G to speeding). Don't know how successful I will be but I am trying to acquire traffic flow info re. the diversion to show that traffic was not light as they stated. Also the officers' statement reads that they showed me the device used to monitor my speed and explained how it works. As they used their car speedo are they talking about that? I am aiming to show inconsistencies in their statement. They have stated that they both observed me overtaking the HGV and crossing the single unbroken line. The line they are referring to well was in front of the HGV (and myself) and they were behind the HGV, on an unlit road in the dark. There is no way that the passenger could see anything but the back of the HGV never mind a reasonable distance past a 40-50ft vehicle so can I question that he observed anything? If they claim that my driving was so erratic wouldn't it have been normal practice to breathalyse me? I'm aware that I can't produce viable 'hard' evidence but can I call their judgement to question?
mrh3369
Just a small point but do you thinks it's beneficial to put in the courts minds that this took place on a road jam packed with diverted traffic, whilst it may cast a very slight shadow of doubt on the officers testimony it will not be quite so good for you if convicted, personally I would leave it.
mariem3
I find this so frustrating. I see what you mean Mrh and appreciate your suggestion. It seems that I'm damned either way. Fair enough that I get done for speeding but it seems that I also get done for something I didn't do or I get done for trying to prove it. angry9.gif

Interestingly I was stopped again a few days ago, a random routine check. I'm getting paranoid now.
Glacier2
You are in the system. I would not be surprised at all.
southpaw82
QUOTE (Glacier2 @ Sat, 19 Nov 2011 - 13:36) *
You are in the system. I would not be surprised at all.


You think the details of everyone's car who is prosecuted is "put into the system" so officers can target them?

It may be beneficial in this case to have a chat with the CPS prosecutor before court and ask if they'll drop the white line offence in return for a guilty plea on the speeding or vice versa. It's three points either way, you just get an additional fine for the additional offence. Put it to them that it's in the interests of saving court time over a contested offence (the white line, I'd say) and tying up a court for a day's hearing for a fine of a few hundred pounds isn't in the public interest.
mariem3
Thanks Southpaw. I'm in Scotland so does this still apply? My (very limited) understanding is that the police have referred the offence/s to the Procurator Fiscal who then decides whether it is in the public interest to prosecute. They then send out the documentation with the court date & time , the charges and the pc's statement. So I think the PF has already decided that it is the public interest to proceed. I don't know if this is different in England. Would it be the actual Procurator Fiscal themselves that I would approach?
southpaw82
I believe you'd approach the Fiscal Depute - the prosecutor on behalf of the Crown on the day.
mariem3
Thank you.

henrik777
Was the solid white line legally compliant ? Requirements explained here.
mariem3
Thanks Henrik. I had a read up about signs - interesting stuff. The road signs are legally compliant but on revisiting in the daylight I did find that the 40MPH sign is not there. (the post is there but not the round sign - it was previously there on google earth.) I also read on the Dumfriesshire police website the following advice;
'In most places the speed limit is displayed on circular signs displayed on both sides of the carriageway and if there are signs indicating speed limits these should be followed.
If there are no signs and it is in a built up area and there are street lights present (the street lights must be no more than 200 yard apart whether they are on the same or opposite sides of the road) the speed limit is 30mph.
If there are no street lights and it is not in a built up area (i.e a country road) then the speed limit is 60mph.'
so will refer to that in my written explanation that will accompany my G plea for speeding.
southpaw82
If the signs aren't compliant then are you guilty of anything at all?
mariem3
Unfortunately I think so as I did pass the HGV before the national speed limit sign, even if the 40 one is missing but regardless of that it seems that I can't disprove what they say despite my knowing that it's questionable.
sgtdixie
QUOTE (southpaw82 @ Sat, 19 Nov 2011 - 16:34) *
QUOTE (Glacier2 @ Sat, 19 Nov 2011 - 13:36) *
You are in the system. I would not be surprised at all.


You think the details of everyone's car who is prosecuted is "put into the system" so officers can target them?

It may be beneficial in this case to have a chat with the CPS prosecutor before court and ask if they'll drop the white line offence in return for a guilty plea on the speeding or vice versa. It's three points either way, you just get an additional fine for the additional offence. Put it to them that it's in the interests of saving court time over a contested offence (the white line, I'd say) and tying up a court for a day's hearing for a fine of a few hundred pounds isn't in the public interest.


You do need to be aware that if the prosecution witnesses are called to court in the anticipation of a trial and the prosecutor is confident there is going to be a conviction due to the strength of evidence what normally happens is the prosecutor speaks to the OIC at court and asks for their view. In many, but not all cases, the OIC will want the trial to go ahead based on the fact that the initial incident warranted action and any judgement should fully reflect the circumstances of the incident and he has been inconvenienced by being made to attend court.

Ultimately it is up to the prosecutor but if you ask for the witnesses to attend a deal is less likely. A bit of a catch 22 I'm afraid.

If you employ a local (to the court) solicitor they may have a good relationship with the prosecutors and may be able to do a deal prior to the case being heard. It is also not certain that they will only endorse for 1 offence. Whilst this happens in the majority of cases the bench can and do sometimes endorse for both having explained their reasoning.

I would not worry about your car or you being flagged up. It is an unfounded urban myth. You have committed routine traffic offences which doesn't merit even an intellligence report let alone a flagging.
mariem3
Oh dear. I'm afraid it's all too alien for me. I will plead guilty to the speeding, not guilty to crossing the line and give my reasons which I realise aren't worth a jot to the powers that be but I think I'm too cowardly to do anything else. Thanks for the info Sgt Dixie.
henrik777
QUOTE (mariem3 @ Fri, 25 Nov 2011 - 12:20) *
Thanks Henrik. I had a read up about signs - interesting stuff. The road signs are legally compliant but on revisiting in the daylight I did find that the 40MPH sign is not there. (the post is there but not the round sign - it was previously there on google earth.) I also read on the Dumfriesshire police website the following advice;
'In most places the speed limit is displayed on circular signs displayed on both sides of the carriageway and if there are signs indicating speed limits these should be followed.
If there are no signs and it is in a built up area and there are street lights present (the street lights must be no more than 200 yard apart whether they are on the same or opposite sides of the road) the speed limit is 30mph.
If there are no street lights and it is not in a built up area (i.e a country road) then the speed limit is 60mph.'
so will refer to that in my written explanation that will accompany my G plea for speeding.



What a crock of shite. Dumfries and galloway is north of the wall. The Restricted Roads (Classification or Type) (Scotland) Regulations 1985 specify that Class C or unclassified roads are restricted roads. Besides this it's 185m up here and not 200 yards which is 182m.


As for the signs http://www.bailii.org/ew/cases/EWHC/Admin/2006/3263.html

mariem3
Hmm. Even more interesting Henrik, thanks. From your info. I don't think that they do comply. As I said originally, I mistakenly thought that the 40mph restriction ended after the houses and street lights stopped and it seems that I was justified in thinking so. I've posted photos of the relevant area. Any opinions would be much appreciated although preferably not of the quality (or lack ) of the photos!

Looking back westbound to show end of street lights and houses and start of country road.

Eastbound. Direction of travel.I l left the lighted area and passed the HGV on the unbroken line. No speed restriction signs but there is a national speed limit sign beyond the building on the right.

Same area in daylight.
CuriousOrange
QUOTE (mariem3 @ Mon, 28 Nov 2011 - 07:49) *
As I said originally, I mistakenly thought that the 40mph restriction ended after the houses and street lights stopped and it seems that I was justified in thinking so.
A 30 mph restriction signalled by street lighting would end after the street lights but I don't believe it works like that for a 40 mph limit which is usually set independently of street lighting.
Glacier2
It needs terminal signs.
CuriousOrange
I don't think the OP is saying that any terminal signs are missing though?

On StreetView, the 40 mph limit starts here. The OP's photo/point of the alleged offence is here (looks like the solid line has been added recently) where you can see the now-missing repeater. The NSL signs for the end of the 40 mph limit are past the building, as the OP says.

So the question is whether that missing repeater gives the OP a defence.
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