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Jo C.
Jo C., Barrister
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 71158
Experience:  Over 5 years in practice
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I have just had to plead guilty for speeding as the police

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I have just had to plead guilty for speeding as the police changed their witness statement to conform with the charge on the day if the trial. The legal adviser of the court told me that technical issues were no longer allowed as evidence in such a case and so the police were within their rights and if I proceeded to plead not guilty I would 'face the consequences'. Can this be right?

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

In what way was the statement changed please?
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

The original witness statement gave a distance measurement that was different to the ticket issued at the side of the road. Today they produced another witness statement that now agrees with the ticket and I was told this was just fine and I have to accept it. The legal adviser also told me that basing a defense on technical grounds ended 's long time ago'

Well, thats not entirely true but technical defences do often fail.

Are you asking whether you should have pleaded?

Do you deny speeding?
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

In the original version the distance declared put me 10 meters in a zone where I was driving at the speed limit but on the revised statement put me inside the zone by 40 m.


So could you give me the information I asked for?
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

I originally denied speeding on the original evidence that was supplied to me but was told it was a typographical error and the new witness statement supersedes this. Therefore I had to plead guilty to avoid a higher fine.

Are you asking whether you should have pleaded?

Do you deny speeding?
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

The thing is I'm not sure. I was definitely going 40 mph but on the original witness statement I was in a 40 zone but the ticket issued and the subsequent witness statement puts me in a 30 mph zone.


So what is your question about this?
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

Can the police after making an error change their statement so it fits with the ticket issued and therefore makes me guilty?

Yes, in short. They are always varying charge sheets and statements.

It was always open to you to continue with a not guilty plea and cross examine the witness over the changes in his statement to try to undermine his credibility.

Obviously sometimes changes in statements mean more than others. In a civilian witness it means a huge amount. A civilian witness making allegations of crime should reasonably be able to tell consistently when a crime happened to them. Police officers are different though. Police officers witness crime all the time so getting dates mixed up is not necessarily fatal to their credibility.

Similarly, distances may be important or may not. I'm not sure what point you wanted to take here?

In any event, you seem to have entered a guilty plea so the matter is resolved. In truth, you probably did the right thing. Inconsistency of evidence can be very important but with speeding offences involving police officer witnesses probably a court is not going to say that an incorrect recording of dates mean they are not credible.

Can I clarify anything for you?

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