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Jo C.
Jo C., Barrister
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 71140
Experience:  Over 5 years in practice
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Jo,On return from vacation (thurs 4th Feb

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For Jomo1972Hi Jo,On return from vacation (thurs 4th Feb - Sun 21st Feb in Thailand) i opened my mail to discover a NIP for a minor speeding offence along with accompanying letter from Northants Safer Roads Team dated 21st January (letter also informed me that a "residence check has revealed that you may not have received prior correspondence from us". And indeed copies of correspondence from between October and December 2015 previously issued but not received were included in the envelope. More of this later.). I duly complied with the request for information and posted my completed NIP/172 the following day by first class post.I received letter back from Safer Roads Team dated 24/02/2016 acknowledging receipt of the completed NIP but informing me that this has been received too late for them to deal with. A copy of my completed NIP stamped 23/02/2016 was returned along with the letter. I was also informed my file had already been passed to their Summons department. I have yesterday received my Summons.Now as I understand it (online research on my part), by the letter of the law I have failed to respond to a NIP within 28 days of the request for information. The time from their letter dated 21/01/2016 to the acknowledgement of my completed NIP on 23/02/2016 narrowly exceeds 28 days. I therefore have no choice but to plead guilty to this offence.So basically my first question to you is this. From the information provided above would you agree with my conclusion that I must now plead guilty? The fact I was on vacation for a good chunk of the 28 days (I am able to provide documentary evidence of my holiday flights) and the fact I am prepared to swear I had no knowledge of the letter before going on holiday are merely mitigating circumstances and not grounds for pleading not guilty?There is a second and I feel more important part related to all this which I am also seeking advice on...
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
I feel I am being punished harshly here due to lack of diligence on the part of the Safer Roads Team and a piece of misfortune. Neither of which I have any control over. I'll explain...I can see from the Statement of Facts contained within the Summons that the initial NIP was sent to the registered keeper (SIXT Car Hire Firm) within the required 14 days. SIXT correctly nominated me as being the driver of the vehicle at the time of the offence. However they also stated my address incorrectly as being FLAT 1 Texryte House. My correct address is in fact FLAT 48 Texryte House.Had the Safer Roads Team checked with the DVLA they would have discovered my correct address (I have not at anytime lived at FLAT 1 and have been registered with the DVLA at FLAT 48 for the past six years). I can see from the Statement of Facts that the Safer Roads Team, in addition to sending the initial request for information to me at FLAT 1 on 15/10/2016, also sent a reminder request for information on 20/11/2016 followed by a final request on 19/12/2016 all to FLAT 1. It seems to me that while Safer Roads Team might be excused for failing to check my address with DVLA for the initial request, to then fail to check and pick up on this error shows lack of diligence on their part. Had this error been picked up I would not now be in the position I find myself in.The piece of misfortune I referred to earlier relates to the status of the occupant at FLAT 1 to which my mail was being sent. On discovering that this mail issue had occurred I took it upon myself to obtain contact details for the occupant of FLAT 1 from my apartment block Residents' Association. On obtaining contact details I contacted the woman in question and politely and delicately inquired whether she had any knowledge of receiving mail for me over the time period in question. She was able to tell me that her flat was empty at the time as she was living and working in Dublin. I believe her on this and indeed, when I went on to explain my situation, she offered to help in any way she can. She says she is able to provide proof of her time away.So, all a bit of a mess really. I welcome any guidance you can give me on how I should proceed. I am thinking I must still plead guilty (early by post in order to avoid harsh penalty) but that I should include both the failure of the Safer Roads Team to carry out rigorous DVLA check on my address and perhaps a signed witness statement from the occupant of FLAT 1 stating that no mail had ever been forwarded to me? I note that the box provided in the Summons for entering any Mitigating Circumstances provides little space. Are they likely to accept my mitigating circumstances or in reality do they pay little attention to this?I appreciate this is a rather lengthy and contains a few questions. I have picked you out specifically Jo as I can see from your answers to others that you clearly take the time to carefully consider the information provided before responding.Kind Regards,
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
...I would just like to add I am in no rush for a response. Feel free to take your time digesting the information! Thanks once more.
Have you received a summons?
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
Yes, I've received summons.
Are you asking if you should please?
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
Yes, pretty much. How should I plead here?
Are you charged with both speeding and failing to identify?
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
No. Just failing to identify.
You don't have any alternative but to plead to that I'm afraid.Come what may, you did not respond in time.It is mitigating to say that you did respond but the plain fact remains that it wasn't done within 28 days.
There is case law that says that a person abroad should keep tabs on their post in the UK so there is no defence in saying that it was received but that you didn't open it because you were abroad.
Can I clarify anything for you?Jo
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
Thank you for the response Jo. I feared that might be the situation. I will follow your advice plead guilty.Is it also mitigating to say that under normal circumstances I would have received a reminder letter through the post? It seems to me I have been denied the opportunity of a reminder letter due to Safer Roads Team initially sending mail to the wrong address.
It is mitigating but it isn't a defence.They don't have to send out reminder letters I'm afraid.
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
Okay, think I understand my situation now. Thanks for the taking the time to reply.
No problem and all the best. Remember that I am always available to help with your questions. Even if I am in Court I will usually pick up a question within 12 hours. For future information, please start your question with ‘For Jo C’. You can also bookmark my profile
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