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Jo C.
Jo C., Barrister
Category: Traffic Law
Satisfied Customers: 71041
Experience:  Over 5 years in practice.
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Hello About a month ago two policemen called at my home to

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About a month ago two policemen called at my home to say that I had been seen by two witnesses reversing into and damaging a car in a supermarket carpark.

I had not done this, the policemen examined my car, which was not damaged at the back, and photographed it. There was some damage to the front of my car, caused several weeks earlier by a wall at my parking space at home. The police were not interested, as the witnesses had stated that I had caused damage to a parked car by reversing into it.

The police have returned today, and say that they will be interviewing me at the station for failing to report an accident. They now say that they got the witnesses story wrong - that they say they saw me drive into the parked car. They say that I can have a solicitor present when they interview me.

My husband confirmed to the police that the damage to the front of my car was caused here at home by the wall at our parking space.

Please advise.
Thank you for your question. i will try to help with this.

How can I help with this?
Customer: replied 5 years ago.

What further information do you require?

I just need to know what your question about this is?
Customer: replied 5 years ago.

Can the police plan to charge me with failing to report an accident in a supermarket car park when they examined my car and saw that there was no evidence of any collision?


The police said that they had witnesses who had seen me reverse into a parked car. Having been shown my car, and seen that there was no damage to the back of my car, they have now returned with a different story - that the witnesses now say I drove forwards into a parked car. surely they cannot pursue a case against me having changed their 'evidence'?




Yes, they can I'm afraid.

There is evidence of a collision. There is damage to the front of your car and there are witnesses who say there was a collision. The fact that you deny the allegations does not mean they cannot bring a charge.

They very definitely can pursue this. Witnesses do sometimes legitimately make mistakes. It might be that the error was with the officer who took the statement as S9 statements are dictated to officers. The change in their evidence is a cross examination point but the Bench is not going to accept that these random apparently independent witnesses are lying I'm afraid.

Witnesses do lie sometimes but not usually about a complete stranger who has given them not motivation to do so.

The best defence is to argue mistake but obviously I cannot guarantee it would succeed. That would depend on the evidence.

Normally these things are calved up by offering a plea to driving without due care but if you deny an accident then you cannot do that.

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 remember to rate my service either OK SERVICE or above and then I will give you related information for free.

Customer: replied 5 years ago.

Thank you for your advice.


Please explain what you mean about 'argue mistake'



Its never a good idea to put to the witnesses that they are lying at the magistrates court for lots of reasons.

Magistrates generally don't like to hear it and anyway they are not going to find that people with no motivation to want to get you in trouble are lying.

The way to run a trial of this kind is to test the witnesses upon things like whether they could see properly, whether they are confused etc.
Customer: replied 5 years ago.

Surely a car parking shunt, of which, if it happened, I was entirely unaware, is an insurance matter? Not a matter for the police?


I would certainly rather admit liability for a minor shunt than face a criminal charge, which although I am innocent, is clearly going to be difficult to defend.


So please advise how I can avoid this matter coming to court at all.



No, its a criminal matter.

Its potentially driving without due and it is certainly failing to stop and report which cannot be dealt with by insurance.
Jo C. and other Traffic Law Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 5 years ago.

Driving without due care and attention into a parking space in a car park?

Not sure what you mean?

Delighted to continue with this but please rate my answer.
Customer: replied 5 years ago.

What I am saying is that when the police called, I told them that I had no knowledge of any incident, they examined by car and said that the witnesses must have been mistaken.


Now they have returned with a different story. As the front of my car was damaged, and the police say they have two independent witnesses, and your advice is that my prospects of defending myself are poor to non-existent, my question is.


How can I avoid this matter proceding to a criminal charge, which is much worse than simply having the insurance company pay for minor damage - whether it was my fault or not.

There's no way of doing that I'm afraid for the reasons above.

Its a matter for CPS.

If you say there wasn't an accident then there is a defence to failing to stop and report but there's no way of preventing CPS from prosecuting.

That doesn't mean they will get a conviction but they are free to prosecute.
Customer: replied 5 years ago.

Where does the interview at the police station with my solicitor present fit in with the CPS? Will the police decide at this 'interview' whether to report to CPS, or is this automatic at this stage?

Depending on where you are in the UK the police may charge you without reference to CPS. Then it would not be reviewed at all until it gets to court and if I know CPS not at all.

Some parts of the Uk still retain the policy of having to get CPS authorisation on every charge so they would have to put the case to them first.
Customer: replied 5 years ago.

Thank you for your helpful response, and thorough answers.


I am not clear about whether you mean if it is referred to CPS is will not be reviewed. Or not get to court?


I guess a local solicitor will be able to advise me as to what the process is now?


What is the best way of choosing a local solicitor who is likely to be able to resolve this without going to court?

1 Yes, exactly. CPS are understaffed and often don't review.

2 Yes, you might get legal aid actually given that its a failing to stop. Any criminal solicitor will be able to deal with this. Its not a complicated case.

There isn't any prospect of resolving this without going to court unless they decide there's no reasonable prospect of a conviction.
Customer: replied 5 years ago.

So, last questions.


Again, not clear about your answer . Are you saying that if this matter is passed to CPS it will not be reviewed, or it will not go to court?




Will a competent solicitor be able to handle the police interview in a manner that makes it unlikely that the police will have a reasonable prospect of a conviction? Given the conflicting accounts of the 'accident' .

1 No. If they have to get CPS authority then they would have to review it if you call a charging lawyer looking over the facts a review. I don't think anybody would sensibly suggest that CPS charging lawyers are at the top of their profession.

2 No. Its for you to give an account. All a solicitor can do is intervene very occasionally to prevent breaches of PACE.

To be wholly honest, on the facts you present, I would resign yourself to being summons for failing to identify. Unless there is some major problem with their case it would seem that there is enough to charge.
Customer: replied 5 years ago.

I see you have answered NO to my first question. Please clarify. Are you saying it will not be reviewed/be badly reviewed. Or are you saying that if a review is required it will not go to court?


What is PACE?


What does 'being summons for failing to identify' mean?




Customer: replied 5 years ago.

1) No? Is that 'no it will not be reviewed' (does it make any difference to me what the quality of the CPS charging lawyers are?) Or 'no, it will not go to court?'


2)What is PACE


And what does 'resign yourself to being summons for failing to identify' mean?



1 If they need CPS advice, then the case will be reviewed but probably badly. 2 Police and Criminal Evidence Act. 3 That was a typo. it should have read summons for failing to stop and report and probably driving without dure care and attention.