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Jo C.
Jo C., Barrister
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The company has a company vehicle it was flashed, rear view

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The company has a company vehicle it was flashed, rear view picture by a gatso. I asked for the photographic evidence, which was provided. Two people could have been driving on the day, it was Saturday, 2 November 2013, but we genuinely cannot remember who.
The NIP was issued to the registered office, the company's accountants. We never received the original NIP from our accountants, but the reminder which followed we did receive. We requested a copy of the original NIP. The Camera imagine relates to 2nd November 2013, however the copy NIP Notice is clearly dated 28 November 2013. Well after the 14 day rule. We have written and stated we cannot identify the driver having taken reasonable steps.

Cheshire Constabulary are now listing it for court.

Should we context the 14 day rule.

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

Why were you not given the NIP by the accountants please?
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

I am not sure, the accountants quite often post things to our offices, which is in the country and they get lost, I cannot prove whether they sent it and it didn't arrive, but we never got it. So I wrote o the police explaining that we as a company never received the original NIP. In our letter we asked for the photographic evidence and the original NIP, in the hope of identifying the driver. The Police sent the photographic evidence but not the original NIP. We had to write again for the NIP. The photographic evidence does not identify the driver as it is taken from the rear. The NIP copy notice they have sent clearly states it was dated 28 November 2013, the offence was 2nd November 2013.

I have written to say we cannot identify the driver, having taken reasonable steps, and they have written saying it is being listed for court, for magistrates to decide.

Thats bad news I'm afraid.

I'm sorry if I'm missing the point but why should the 14 day rule apply here?

Have you named the driver in response to the second NIP?

Also, what are the reasonable steps? You don't seem to be describing any at all so far although obviously there might be actions you have taken that you haven't mentioned.

I presume you are summonsed as the company director?
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Can you explain what is "bad news"?


There is no 2nd NIP, just a copy of the original one issued.


Our letter said "we have spent time investigating the matter and have taken all reasonable steps to try to identify the driver of the vehicle on the 2nd November 2013, but unfortunately are not able to do so."


Steps as we see it are:


1. Getting a copy of the NIP, to check dates times etc.

2. Asking for photographic evidence to try to identify the driver at the time.

3. Being a Saturday, it would be one of two people and neither can remember who was driving genuinely.

We have answered the police truthfully.



Yes, but you haven't complied with S172.

Are you summonsed personally or just the company?

Or does the requisition summons both parties?
Customer: replied 3 years ago.



What is S172? Is this to supply the name of driver driving at the time? If so we aren't sure who it was, I could give both names if this would help?


I haven't received the summons yet, just a letter saying it is being passed to the issuing officer for onwards transmission to the court.



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.

The difficulty that you have here is that you haven't really exercised reasonable diligence in the steps that you describe. What you have done is try to throw the onus back onto the Crown which isn't going to be satisfactory.

It might be that you have done other things in the office - like check records etc that you don't describe here.

Had you posted earlier I would have told you how to respond in a particular way to bring yourself within the caselaw. You must staple the letter that you write to the nip. Do not use a paperclip. If you do they may seize on that and use it to convict you as they will differentiate it from the leading case. On that letter write the words

“The driver of this vehicle was either

A (name and address)


B (name address)

Obviously, you can only name the 2 genuine candidates.

The case of DPP v Jones says that if you respond in this way it is for the police to investigate which of the 2 candidates are responsible and it gives you a defence to failing to identify.

This case is relatively little-known and if you respond in this way they could charge you with failing to identify. You may have to go to court and argue the point. They will send you some quite intimidating letters. Overall though, if you respond in this way you bring yourself within the caselaw and have a much stronger chance.

The trouble is that you didn't unfortunately and its too late now.

Similarly with the 14 day issue, you might actually have had a run on that point. It depends on a number of factors. However, it falls away because you didn't name the driver. Even if the NIP is out of time you still have to comply with your S172 responsibilities. Since you have not they will just bring a prosecution for that if anything.

Its difficult to say what could happen here. If the last NIP you had was the 28th November then they would have had to give you 28 days to comply. The offence would arise then on about the 26th December. They have six months to lay an information which does give them until the end of June but obviously we are a distance into the time period.

Also, they may summons the company alone. They quite often do forget to summons the directors. If that does happen then although the company will be batter with a high financial penalty, they cannot add points to the licence of any person because the company does not have a driving licence by definition.

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.
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Thanks for the reply, you are correct I have misunderstood what was required.


I have looked at diary and calendars, but it was a Saturday not a working day! So business wise these are not helpful, hence it had to be one of two drivers.


Do I just write a letter with these words on then and nothing else, and as you say staple it to the NIP:-


“The driver of this vehicle was either

A (name and address)


B (name address)"







It doesn't really matter whether you do that now or not. The plain fact remains that you didn't do it within 28 days of the NIP.

You don't have to actually name the candidates to bring yourself within reasonable diligence. Its just a way of bringing yourself within the leading the case.

If you are saying that you did check diaries and calendars though and speak to people then that is investigating. You need to focus upon things like that rather than upon the letters you sent to the Crown.
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