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Jo C.
Jo C., Barrister
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 70697
Experience:  Over 5 years in practice
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Jo I work as a trade plate driver delivering cars all over

Resolved Question:

Hi Jo
I work as a trade plate driver delivering cars all over the UK.
Unfortunately on 18/09/2015 I received a "Notice of intended prosecution" for an alleged offence (84 in a 70 zone) on 17/07/2015.
I wrote a polite letter back to The Fixed Penalty Support Unit on 25/09/2015 explaining that because of my employment and the fact that I often work as part of a team (because of safety reasons, long days, 1,000's of miles driven each week) sharing the driving, and because of the time elapsed from the alleged offence, I could not remember who I was working with (a possible pool of 50+ drivers). I asked for photographic evidence to prove beyond a doubt who was driving the vehicle. I asked for a response ASAP as, if it were me, I would like to apply for the Speed Awareness Course. I sent back the S172.
I then received a second letter back from the Fixed Penalty Support Unit on 1/10/15 along with the S172 form and a photo of the vehicle involved stating that I now had to fill in the form. Again I wrote back a polite letter stating that "because I can not identify from the photographic evidence as to who the driver was I cannot fill in the S172 form and supply you with any further details. The driver could have been one of fifty or more drivers. Please advise."
I then received a Postal Requisition (first class post dated 10/02/16) in the post for me to appear at Oxford Magistrates Court on 30/06/16 charged with two charges.
1/ Fail to give information relating to the identification of the driver.
2/ Speeding - motor vehicle exceed 70 mph on a dual carriageway.
I have had a clean license for past 4 years. I honestly can not recall who I was working with on the day of the alleged offence.
Can you please help and advise me as to my course of action, and whether it may be just better to plead guilty to an offence I'm not even certain I've committed.
Kind regards
Alan Dumburs
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Law
Expert:  Jo C. replied 1 year ago.
Sorry for the delay. I am not sure I can really give you good news. If you had posted earlier I would have told you never to respond in that way. The practical reality is this. S172 imposes a duty upon you to investigate the identity of the driver. It doesn’t ask you if you know off hand as, of course, you do not. I do accept that there are people who cannot say who was driving on a particular occasion but business always keeps a record in some way. The other problem is that Magistrates generally know that if the allegation against a driver were that he had been hanging around outside primary schools trying to abduct children then the registered keeper would find out who he was so fast the world would spin! If a registered keeper can do it in that situation they can do it when the allegation is speeding. It is all very unfortunate because what occurs to me immediately is that the NIP appears to have been out of time so they would have had difficulty prosecuting you had you not failed to identify. However, you are charged with failing to identify. If you are not the driver then you cannot offer a plea to speeding. You are left really with the option of pleading to failing to identify or contesting it. Whether you contest it or not depends on the strength of your evidence. The burden of proof passes to you to prove on the balance of probabilities that you cannot say. The balance of probabilities is not a high test but the burden is yours. That will involve establishing that there is no record anywhere within the company. If that is the case then you will have to call evidence on the point but obviously the Bench might take some convincing to accept that. If the company is not yours then you might be in a stronger position. Can I clarify anything for you? Jo
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Hi JoThanks for your speedy response.The only other thing I'd like to ask please is that the vehicle involved was owned by Enterprise Rent A Car. It was been moved by a company call Central England Vehicle Logistics to a company who had bought it (at the end of its lease life). My name was added to Central England Vehicle Logistics paper work as being the driver allotted to move the vehicle (I worked in a self employed capacity). However it is a policy of Central England Vehicle Logistics to use the Enterprise Rent A Car Vehicles to "run around" self employed drivers to other jobs. Often the vehicles with the most fuel were used, and these were not necessarily driven by the driver allocated to that vehicle therefore no records as such were kept. I always display my trade plates when moving vehicles, but in the photographic evidence they are not present. I have spoken to a couple of Ex drivers of Central England Vehicle Logistics and they would give written evidence to support this.With this in mind would I have a case. Or would it still be doubtful ? Would it be less grief for me just to plead guilty. If so have you any idea of what punishment I might receive.Thank youRegardsAlan Dumburs
Expert:  Jo C. replied 1 year ago.
It certainly would be more time consuming to have a trial. It would also carry the greater risk from the point of view of costs. However, if there was just no way that you could have identified then it is a defence. Remember though that you have the burden of proof so you will have to raise some evidence of this.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Hi Jo
I'd like your advice on how you think I should proceed. Do I plead guilty ? Do I defend my self ? Do I employ a solicitor ? Please advise me what I should do.RegardsAlan
Expert:  Jo C. replied 1 year ago.
It really depends on your priorities.If you are prepared to commit the time then you could plead not guilty.If you want it all to go away then the only way is to plead guilty.You don't really need to employ a solicitor. This is a simple enough dispute. You are generally better with one but you won't recover the cost in full or probably even in part.
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