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Jo C.
Jo C., Barrister
Category: Law
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Experience:  Over 5 years in practice
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I Received a 172 speeding letter today. The Offence happened

Customer Question

I Received a 172 speeding letter today. The Offence happened on the day I purchased the vehicle. I have only just received the letter and the date on the letter is 27/12/13. The Offence and the day I purchased the vehicle was on 17/11/13. Also on the V5 no time of purchase is stated and as far as I am aware it was test driven by others before I did.
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Law
Expert:  Jo C. replied 2 years ago.
Hi.

Thank you for your question. My name is Jo and I will try to help with this.

What would you like to know about this please?
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

In regards to my first question. Is it possible it wasn't me driving at the time of the reported speeding incident-therefore how do I go about filling in the 172 form with out incriminating myself and avoid any further action (a fine and 3 points) ?

Expert:  Jo C. replied 2 years ago.
Sorry if Im missing the point but I'm not sure what you mean?

Were you the driver or could it not have been you?
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

The offence happened more than a few days ago (17/11/2013) and thats not the point. The point is, it wasn't necessarily my vehicle when the offence happened. I purchased the vehicle on the day of the offence. Other people may have test driven the vehicle that day before I purchased/owned the vehicle? Therefore how can they guarantee it was me driving the vehicle at the time of the offence?

Expert:  Jo C. replied 2 years ago.
No, but its for you to identify the driver not them to prove it.

Were you driving at this location?
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

Yes, but the vehicle may have been driven by others before I was the owner.

Expert:  Jo C. replied 2 years ago.
Yes, I understand that but was it?

Were you driving at this location and at this time?
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

Possibly, but i don't know the exact time I purchased it and as I'm sure you can understand as far as I'm aware it was driven by others before I owned the vehicle that day?

Expert:  Jo C. replied 2 years ago.
I am afraid that you misunderstand the law.

Section 172 of the Road traffic act reverses the onus onto you. It does not ask whether you know offhand who was driving. Of course you do not. It does, however, place an obligation upon you to investigate the issue using reasonable diligence and to identify the driver.

With personal vehicles that are usually fairly easy to do is because we can all say with reasonable efforts who was driving our own personal car on any particular day.

“Reasonable diligence" has been considered is by the higher courts and it means doing things like checking your diary, retracing the journey etc.

If you genuinely cannot do so then it is a defence to say that you had used reasonable diligence and cannot say. Sometimes haulage companies are in that position.

Generally speaking, “reasonable diligence" at the magistrates court means doing everything humanly possible. Any imperfection or failing will be used as an excuse to convict you.

Also, you should remember that the law reverses the burden of proof on to you to show, on the balance of probability, that you have used reasonable diligence.

The reversal of the burden of proof has been considered at Europe and has been held the within reasonable limits.

Moreover, if you really cannot identify the driver then you must not guess. That is potentially perverting the course of justice and people go to prison for that.

The difficulty you will have here is this. Im sorry to be so hard hitting but you need to understand your position. If you answer questions in the way that you have above in court the Bench will say you are just trying to take advantage of the position and haven't shown reasonable diligence. In fairness, its really not that difficult to identify whether or not you were the driver on a day with a significant event like the purchase of a new car. Its not something that we do every day. You are likely to remember the location and time of your test drive I'm afraid. Either you were driving or you were not and the Court is not likely to believe you don't know.

If it was you then the matter comes to an end.

If it was not you then that should not be a difficulty. Of course, you cannot say who else test drove this car on that day when it wasn't owned by you. The Bench will not expect you to be able to do that.

The argument that you just don't know whether it was you or not is not likely to be credible Im afraid.

I'm sorry this isn't the answer you wanted but it is the position that you face and I have a duty to inform you truthfully.

Hope this helps. Please let me know if you need more information.

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