Author Topic: Received SJP after complying with Fixed Penalty Offer  (Read 576 times)

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SeeksJustice

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Received SJP after complying with Fixed Penalty Offer
« on: April 23, 2024, 11:02:09 pm »
Hi folks,

Looking for some advice on my legal matter please.

In May 2023 I received a fixed penalty notice from the Met Police of £100 for driving 34 mph in a 20 mph speed limit in South London. I paid the £100 fine and returned my driving licence details in the form provided by post within the time limits of the fixed penalty offer and considered the matter closed.

in Sep 2023 I received a SJP asking me to make a plea of guilty or not guilty to the same speeding offence that I had been sent the fixed penalty offer for in May. I returned the SJP, pleading guilty to the speeding offence, as I was guilty of speeding, and explained that I had already fully complied with the fixed penalty offer in May and asking for an explanation on why I had been issued with the SJP. I was refunded the £100 fixed penalty at end of Sep and on 10th Oct 2023 I received a fine collection order informing me that I had been fined £1,000, £400 victim support surcharge, and £90 costs, OUCH!

After several months corresponding with the Magistrates Courts involved, enforcement agency and making a Statutory Declaration that I was later informed I was not eligible for, I have finally received an explanation from the prosecuting Courts' Admin office after 8 months on the reason why a SJP was issued against me. That is, the Police claim that they did not receive the details of my driving licence and as a result they proceeded with the SJP. Unfortunately, I do not have a copy of the form where I entered my driving licence details and posted to the return address.

What recourse do I have to have my case reopened on the grounds that a SJP should never been issued as I had fully complied the fixed penalty offer by paying the £100 penalty and providing my driving licence details within the time limits of the offer? Does the onus fall to me to provide proof that the driving licence form was returned?  I understand that there is guidance that the Court can follow in such cases where a penalty notice could not be offered or taken up for reasons unconnected with the offence itself, such as administrative difficulties outside the control of the offender, the starting point should be a fine equivalent to the amount of the penalty and no order of costs should be imposed.

Any useful advice on this matter would be appreciated as I am keen to understand how best to proceed and seek closure to a situation that was beyond my control.

Regards,

Seeking Justice

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The Rookie

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Re: Received SJP after complying with Fixed Penalty Offer
« Reply #1 on: April 24, 2024, 06:43:21 am »
Ideally you should have raised those when pleading guilty in the first place.

Whether you sent the form is legally irrelevant, they have to receive it, if they did not the SJPN was quite correctly issued.

What you should have done (and can request the court to reopen the case under S142 of the magistrate’s court act to do in the interests of justice) was present a coherent plea that the details were sent and request sentencing at the fixed penalty tariff in line with the sent ending guidelines.

Unfortunately your defective research (a stat dec was never appropriate and would/should never be accepted) and a lot of time wasted means they are now unlikely to agree to reopen the case and it’s probably too late to try and appeal the sentence as well.
There are motorists who have been scammed and those who are yet to be scammed!

NewJudge

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Re: Received SJP after complying with Fixed Penalty Offer
« Reply #2 on: April 24, 2024, 08:44:01 am »
Apart from anything else, £1,000 is the maximum fine for speeding and at the very least you should have been granted a one third discount for a guilty plea, regardless of your income.

An appeal to the Crown Court must have been lodged within 21 days of your conviction so that's out. As Rookie says, a Section 142 request is the only way to go but whether the court will agree to reopening in view of the time lapse is hard to say. One thing you must ensure is that your request to reopen should be heard by the court (i.e. before Magistrates). Admin staff sometimes take it on themselves to deny requests based on criteria which they make up as and when. You must reject any such denial and insist on a hearing in court. There is no statutory time limit to make a s142 request and whether or not to agree to reopening "in the interests of justice" is entirely a judicial decision which must be taken by Magistrates.

SeeksJustice

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Re: Received SJP after complying with Fixed Penalty Offer
« Reply #3 on: April 24, 2024, 09:31:13 am »
Thanks for the advice. if I may add to the mitigating circumstances, on the day I was notified of the £1,490 fine, surcharge, and costs by email, within an hour of reading that email notification, I suffered a stroke and was rushed to hospital where I spent 6 weeks recovering before being discharged. I am left partly paralysed down my left-side and still recovering. I believe the shock of the level of fine imposed contributed to my stroke, however, I will never be able to prove that. While I was hospitalised it was my wife who was dealing with the authorities and fighting off the enforcement people. She was advised by the Single Justice Service to submit a Statutory Declaration.

As mentioned, in the returned SJP plea I explained that I had already received a fixed penalty for the offence that I had complied with. It would appear this info was disregarded at the time of the SJP was heard and then it took until yesterday, almost 8 months from when the SJP was issued, to get explanation of why the SJP had been issued.

Regards,

SeeksJustice       

NewJudge

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Re: Received SJP after complying with Fixed Penalty Offer
« Reply #4 on: April 24, 2024, 10:31:20 am »
Then you must explain all of this when you make your application under s142. You being advised to submit a stat dec is somewhat typical, I am afraid, of admin staff giving incorrect advice. As you probably now know, a stat dec is only appropriate when you have been convicted under proceedings of which you were unaware. You were aware of the proceedings against you - in fact you responded to the SJPN with your guilty plea.

I would suggest you write to "The Clerk to the Justices" at the court where you were convicted. Actually that title was, I believe, abolished in 2018 but nobody really seems to know the job title which replaced it so your letter will certainly find its way to the right desk.

As I said, be prepared for a struggle to get your application heard.

SeeksJustice

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Re: Received SJP after complying with Fixed Penalty Offer
« Reply #5 on: April 24, 2024, 11:46:54 am »
Hi,

Thanks for the advice once again. I wrote to the Court where I was convicted last week requesting the case be reopened pursuant to Section 142 of the Magistrates Courts Act 1980. I sent the letter by recorded delivery this time - I will never again assume that documentation that has been requested, has actually been received and processed by the courts and their offices accordingly - this is the one lesson that I and others should learn from dealing with the justice system relating to road traffic offences.

I await the outcome of my request to reopen the case and take onboard the advice to insist on a court hearing in front of a Magistrate to make my case.

The Rookie

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Re: Received SJP after complying with Fixed Penalty Offer
« Reply #6 on: April 24, 2024, 12:08:19 pm »
To gain a sympathetic audience your application ideally needed to lay out WHY (legal reasons, such as the sentencing guidance for cases like yours) it is in the interest of justice to reopen the case.
Apart from anything else a £1000 fine seems to be just wrong unless you have a huge salary or ticked the box on MC100 incorrect as pay per…..
There are motorists who have been scammed and those who are yet to be scammed!

NewJudge

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Re: Received SJP after complying with Fixed Penalty Offer
« Reply #7 on: April 24, 2024, 12:18:25 pm »
Apart from anything else a £1000 fine seems to be just wrong unless you have a huge salary or ticked the box on MC100 incorrect as pay per…..
It's particularly unjust when considering the following:

Either the response to the SJPN was received or it wasn't.

If it was received and a guilty plea was entered, the defendant was entitled to a one third discount off the fine, thus making the maximum £667 regardless of income.

If it was not received the fine should have been set on the basis of an assumed weekly income of £440.

SeeksJustice

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Re: Received SJP after complying with Fixed Penalty Offer
« Reply #8 on: April 24, 2024, 06:00:43 pm »
I'm considered a relatively high earner, in the 40% tax bracket. I provided full transparency on my earnings in the submitted SJP guilty plea. This is the reason the Court admin gave on why the fine was so high when I questioned why I had received the maximum fine for a relatively minor speeding offence (band B) with no prior endorsements on my licence.

Nevertheless, based on the advice given above, I will be bringing up the fact that I should have been entitled to a 33% reduction in fine as I had plead guilty to the SP30 offence in the SJP as a further argument on why my case should be reopened in the interests of justice. 

NewJudge

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Re: Received SJP after complying with Fixed Penalty Offer
« Reply #9 on: April 24, 2024, 06:26:33 pm »
Your fine should have been calculated as one week's net income, capped at £1,000 (the maximum for the offence), then a third off for your guilty plea.

slapdash

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Re: Received SJP after complying with Fixed Penalty Offer
« Reply #10 on: April 24, 2024, 09:02:40 pm »
https://www.sentencingcouncil.org.uk/fine-calculator/

Op might find the above useful (which gives the result NewJudge mentions).


SeeksJustice

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Re: Received SJP after complying with Fixed Penalty Offer
« Reply #11 on: April 24, 2024, 11:09:51 pm »
Just one more question if I may? Should a Failure to Provide Information charge been listed on the SJPN I received? I ask this on the basis that the Police claim they never received my driving licence details and as a result they proceeded with the SJP. When I spoke to HMCTS earlier today to check the status of my request to reopen the case, they mentioned the Police would normally proceed with a Failure to Provide Information charge when deciding to prosecute a SJP in cases where information is not received from the defendant. Or, are they getting mixed up with the NIP procedure, which I was issued in the first place, and complied with which resulted in the Fixed Penalty offer being made?

Southpaw82

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Re: Received SJP after complying with Fixed Penalty Offer
« Reply #12 on: April 24, 2024, 11:25:28 pm »
They are getting mixed up with the NIP.

The Rookie

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Re: Received SJP after complying with Fixed Penalty Offer
« Reply #13 on: April 25, 2024, 05:44:02 am »
To expand on what SP said, no absolutely not.
That offence is committed if you fail to provide DRIVER details in response to the original S172/NIP.
What caused you to end in court was failing to provide (them receiving) the licence details in order to satisfy the requirements of accepting the Conditional offer of a Fixed Penalty, that isn’t an offence and so you couldn’t be charged with anything, but as it amounted to a failure to accept the offer the Police would then resort to court action.
There are motorists who have been scammed and those who are yet to be scammed!

NewJudge

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Re: Received SJP after complying with Fixed Penalty Offer
« Reply #14 on: April 25, 2024, 08:39:48 am »
Quote
Or, are they getting mixed up with the NIP procedure, which I was issued in the first place, and complied with which resulted in the Fixed Penalty offer being made?

As above, yes they are getting mixed up. Unfortunately another manifestation of admin staff who are not legally qualified providing advice.