Caught on a Mobile?

Caught on a Mobile?

A Case Study

The police stopped Charlie Ritcher in central London and accused him of using his mobile phone whilst driving. (This was an allegation of using the phone to have a conversation as opposed to using it as a sat nav).  One officer claimed he had watched as Charlie drove by with the phone to his ear.  Charlie and his passenger denied it from the outset.  Charlie’s father, Geoffrey Ritcher, contacted me and asked what he should do.

The Advice

Geoffrey had worked for solicitors in the past and was able to undertake the preparatory work himself. Consequently, I advised him to take detailed witness statements from his son and passenger whilst the details were still fresh in the memory.  Then, father and son came to see me.  I took down detailed instructions and tendered advice on case preparation.  Based upon what I had been told I advised on completion of the Single Justice Notice Procedure Form setting out the basis of the defence, which witnesses we would be calling and how we challenged the police case.  This was important in that certain matters were put formally on the record by the way this Notice was completed.

The Hearing

8 months had elapsed from the time of the incident until the day of the trial.  We attended at Lavender Hill Magistrates’ Court in central London.   We all met very shortly after 0900 hours at court. We were first to arrive and sign in with the court usher.  There were 4 matters listed in the trial court at 10 am.  Clearly, there would not be time for all 4 matters to be heard and some might have to be adjourned.  Consequently, we had arrived early in the hope we would be called on first.  We were.  The case was heard.  We won and Charlie was acquitted with reputation fully intact.

Conclusion

Early case preparation whilst matters were still fresh in the memory can be critical in providing the basis for a solid defence.  In this case, we were much better prepared than the CPS who were outmanoeuvred and, frankly, embarrassed in court.  Charlie was kind enough to post a testimonial the same day:

‘…Sunil presented my case fantastically and got the result I was hoping for. I was found not guilty. I would just like to say a huge thank you and I would highly recommend Sunil at Kent traffic law.’

Geoffrey emailed me the next day: ‘Just wanted to write and thank you once again for making sure Charlie had a voice in court yesterday, we could not have done it without you. Charlie was amazed at your performance so much so that he said he wished he could have been a barrister, you really impressed him!’

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Caught Using a mobile phone whilst driving?

Caught Using a mobile phone whilst driving?

The Allegation

Jim had been seen using a mobile phone by a police officer when he was stationary at traffic lights. Jim did not deny using a phone nor holding a speaker to his ear (the actual phone being in a cradle on the dashboard). However, as he drives for a living he wanted to know if he had a defence to the charge (as a conviction could have resulted in the loss of his licence).

The Meeting

We met as soon as Jim received notice of the allegation in the post. My view was that there could be a defence in law based on the fact that the speaker had been detached from the phone (there was no physical connection between them) and the speaker was not an ‘interactive communication device’ within the meaning of the relevant regulation and case law.

The Trial

We met early at Lavender Hill Magistrates’ Court on the day of his trial. The officer who had stopped Jim was called as a prosecution witness. I questioned the officer and confirmed that he had neither seized nor examined the speaker. I then made a legal submission that ‘there was no case to answer’ (even before the defence case was opened). The court retired to consider the submission and after a long delay returned dismissing the case against Jim directing that a ‘Not Guilty’ verdict be entered.

Conclusion

Jim had won his case on a technicality without even having to give evidence! Costs were awarded in his favour. He comments, ‘My barrister was excellent from start to finish. He advised me wisely to begin with and then had the knowledge and experience to guide the court expertly to the conclusion he sought.’ At Kent Traffic Law we regularly consider allegations of mobile phone use against clients. If you consider you have been wrongly accused or would like to know if you have a defence in law don’t hesitate to get in touch.

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Have you received a Notice of Intended Prosecution?

Have you received a Notice of Intended Prosecution?

 

Have you received a Notice of Intended Prosecution?

 

David received a Notice of Intended Prosecution advising him that consideration was being given to prosecuting him for Dangerous Driving, Careless Driving and Failing to Stop or Report following a road traffic incident.  He also received a Notice requiring him, as the registered keeper of the vehicle in question, to supply the driver’s name and address.  David was the driver at the time, and, as with anyone in such a situation, he was concerned that he could be prosecuted for, and convicted of, criminal offences.  However, in compliance with his legal duty he intended to complete the form admitting he had been the driver.

 

The Dilemma

David had 28 days to reply.  He knew he had been involved in a minor incident on the road.  The Notice offered him the option of setting out his own written account of the events stating,

‘This will assist us in deciding on the appropriate course of action’. 

David had the choice of leaving this part of the form blank or sending off an account.  What should he do?

 

The Issues

Here are a list of some of the matters which David was not sure about:-

  • What is the law relating to each of the offences listed
  • The evidence the police already had
  • How the Police determine such cases, and thus whether he might make his situation worse rather than better if he gave an account, for example, by inadvertently making ‘admissions’ which the police might rely on.

 

What David did next

He engaged me to assist him with how to respond and to represent him in court in due course should the need arise.  Having given a detailed account of the incident to me I advised him of the law as it applied to the facts he had described.  Based on 25 years of experience of police and CPS procedure I suggested a draft response (any such response must be entirely true to the account supplied by the client but, crucially, how matters are expressed and which factors are included is, in my experience, of the utmost importance).

 

The Result

Within a few weeks of sending off this response the police wrote to David advising him they proposed to take no further action in this matter!  David was kind enough to email me straightaway stating,

‘This of course is absolutely fantastic news, and I would like to express my deep gratitude for your help and assistance with this matter; from our initial phone conversation, to our subsequent meeting and for your help with drafting the response to the Notice of Intended Prosecution.  I honestly believe that if I had not sought your help, then the outcome would have been very much different.’

 

Conclusion

Most of us will never have received a Notice of Intended Prosecution.  Consequently, we don’t know how best to respond.  Should we supply an account (when we don’t know the relevant law or legal procedure being applied by the police)?  Nor do we understand the legal elements of the offences under consideration or in what circumstances the police will exercise discretion either to prosecute or not to prosecute.  We could unwittingly actually increase the prospect of prosecution by supplying an account!  In such circumstances, you may think that by engaging an expert you will optimise your chances of a positive outcome.  I regularly advise clients on how to respond to such Notices.  Of course, there are no guarantees and each case turns on its own facts, however, if the police do decide not to prosecute you will have avoided the risk of conviction as well as the costs and stress of prosecution simply by engaging an expert at the outset.

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How to avoid disqualification for speeding

How to avoid disqualification for speeding

The Case

Luca (an alias) was in a rush for work one day and was stopped by an officer for driving at more than 30 mph above the speed limit.  He later received a Single Justice Procedure Notice.  He completed the Notice admitting the offence and elected to be sentenced without having to attend court (one of the options in the Notice).  Due to the margin by which he had exceeded the limit, he was required to attend Bromley Magistrates’ Court so that they could consider whether he should be disqualified from driving and for how long.

Meeting the client

We arranged to meet and discussed those factors which a sentencing court might consider to be in his favour with regard to the offence and in his personal and work circumstances.  We deal with motoring offences every day so we can see straight away what steps should be taken in advance of the hearing to improve the chances of avoiding a ban. (Different factors apply to each client.  Usually, we advise on obtaining written documentation to verify selected aspects of background information.  In Luca’s case, this advice included taking a certain driving course and to attend at court with his certificate of completion for that particular course).

At Bromley Magistrates Court

The court said that in the light of the evidence that had been presented on Luca’s behalf (including the driving course certificate) and, having listened to the way his case was presented, that they would not disqualify him at all but would simply impose a fine and penalty points!  Luca was very pleased to avoid the ban and the significant impact upon his personal and professional life that would have followed had he not been advised to prepare for the hearing as he had:

He wrote:  ‘The difficulty that a ban would have caused me in my personal and professional life did not bear thinking about (not to mention the vastly increased insurance premiums that I would have been charged had I been banned).  I am most grateful to you for guiding me through this process.  Without your expert advice and representation, I fear I would have suffered an entirely different fate.’

Next Step

If you have read this far you may be in a similar position to Luca ie facing the prospect of being disqualified from driving in which case it is essential for you to get expert advice on the steps you can take now to minimise your risk of a driving ban.  If you wait or take the wrong steps, you may miss the opportunity to save your driving licence.  Contact us now for a no-cost review of your situation to see how we can help you – you can email enquiries@kenttrafficlaw.co.uk or call

 

01622 320 430

Call Now For A Telephone Review (at no cost to you)

Caught on the Mobile?

Caught on the Mobile?

A Case Study

The police stopped Charlie Ritcher in central London and accused him of using his mobile phone whilst driving. (This was an allegation of using the phone to have a conversation as opposed to using it as a sat nav).  One officer claimed he had watched as Charlie drove by with the phone to his ear.  Charlie and his passenger denied it from the outset.  Charlie’s father, Geoffrey Ritcher, contacted me and asked what he should do.

The Advice

Geoffrey had worked for solicitors in the past and was able to undertake the preparatory work himself. Consequently, I advised him to take detailed witness statements from his son and passenger whilst the details were still fresh in the memory.  Then, father and son came to see me.  I took down detailed instructions and tendered advice on case preparation.  Based upon what I had been told I advised on completion of the Single Justice Notice Procedure Form setting out the basis of the defence, which witnesses we would be calling and how we challenged the police case.  This was important in that certain matters were put formally on the record by the way this Notice was completed.

The Hearing

8 months had elapsed from the time of the incident until the day of the trial.  We attended at Lavender Hill Magistrates’ Court in central London.   We all met very shortly after 0900 hours at court. We were first to arrive and sign in with the court usher.  There were 4 matters listed in the trial court at 10 am.  Clearly, there would not be time for all 4 matters to be heard and some might have to be adjourned.  Consequently, we had arrived early in the hope we would be called on first.  We were.  The case was heard.  We won and Charlie was acquitted with reputation fully intact.

Conclusion

Early case preparation whilst matters were still fresh in the memory can be critical in providing the basis for a solid defence.  In this case, we were much better prepared than the CPS who were outmanoeuvred and, frankly, embarrassed in court.  Charlie was kind enough to post a testimonial the same day:

‘…Sunil presented my case fantastically and got the result I was hoping for. I was found not guilty. I would just like to say a huge thank you and I would highly recommend Sunil at Kent traffic law.’

Geoffrey emailed me the next day: ‘Just wanted to write and thank you once again for making sure Charlie had a voice in court yesterday, we could not have done it without you. Charlie was amazed at your performance so much so that he said he wished he could have been a barrister, you really impressed him!’

Call Now For A Telephone Review (at no cost to you)

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