Author Topic: SP50 - Prosecution to Proof?  (Read 478 times)

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nathanielclyne

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SP50 - Prosecution to Proof?
« on: May 12, 2024, 09:55:51 pm »
Dear All,

Hope you are well.

Would be really grateful for your advice:

NIP for 96 in a 70 motorway (silly of me and lesson well and truely learnt)

I really wanted to resolve this without a formal court conviction. Mainly as a court convictions become formal criminal convictions requiring disclosure as opposed to FPN's which are not 'convictions' per se and never have to be mentioned on any form ( be that VISA's jobs etc - I am aware speeding on it own is non-recordable but if asked motoring offences are not specifically excluded this will require disclosure).

Ive had a clean license for 10 years. I thereby (perhaps unwittingly!) contacted the police asking whether the matter could be dealt with via FPN instead of via a court route. They very sternly declined. I should mention I made more than one representation.

My question is, I fully realise I have very few options left now in not getting a formal court conviction, as I've been given an SJPN with only a couple of days left to reply.
Im aware I do not have a factual defence but was essentially just hoping to put the prosecution to proof following a not guilty plea ( as per my legal rights) as I have nil to lose. I know certain disclosure requirements are not always met, which can result in favourable outcomes.

I appreciate this is a niche question but was wondering if anyone had taken this approach before and how to go about it? What disclosure do you usually ask for and at what time during the process?
I have approached many driving solicitors but not located one I feel comfortable with in offering assistance.

Thank you all in advance!

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Southpaw82

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Re: SP50 - Prosecution to Proof?
« Reply #1 on: May 12, 2024, 10:37:55 pm »
How much disclosure do you think is required in a speeding case? You don’t say how you were caught, which will have a bearing on the evidence that will be produced.

I’m not sure “nothing to lose” is correct. If you plead guilty, you will receive points, a fine (reduced by 1/3 for the early guilty plea), a small costs award and surcharge (based on the fine).

If you are convicted after trial, the fine will not be reduced by 1/3, so the surcharge will go up, and costs start at £650-ish. You’re essentially risking an extra grand (thereabouts) by pleading not guilty with no defence.

nathanielclyne

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Re: SP50 - Prosecution to Proof?
« Reply #2 on: May 12, 2024, 10:51:41 pm »
Southpaw82

Thanks for your reply above. I was caught by HADECS 3 camera device. A 'Certificate of Compliance' was available on the 'admit to driving website'.

I realise I am not in an enviable position and indeed the loss of credit for an early guilty plea. I have heard on the off chance, occasionally due to disorganisation etc, the crown can sometimes fail to meet disclosure deadlines, or cases be discontinued for other reasons, indeed including a camera operator not attending the trial, so just wanted to explore any small avenue that may remain.

Thanks again.

nathanielclyne

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Re: SP50 - Prosecution to Proof?
« Reply #3 on: May 12, 2024, 11:07:35 pm »
The PDF attached is available on the 'identify driver' website :

Southpaw82

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Re: SP50 - Prosecution to Proof?
« Reply #4 on: May 12, 2024, 11:54:50 pm »
There is no camera operator though. HADECS isn’t a manned system.

Have you heard about disclosure deadlines being missed in very simple unmanned camera cases or more complicated cases?

What evidence have you already received?

nathanielclyne

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Re: SP50 - Prosecution to Proof?
« Reply #5 on: May 13, 2024, 12:27:39 am »
Southpaw82

Thanks for your reply above.

I have received the 3 photographs from the camera device on the admit to being the driver website and the certificate above. On the SJPN there is also a witness statement from the Central Ticket Office 'evidence assessor'. This states the device was home office approved and triggered by my vehicle and asks for permission for them to give evidence via live CVP link.

I am not sure which cases are more likely to have disclosure deadlines missed - I presumed this was more likely due to stretched nature of the police force and resultant delays in handing over files to the CPS as opposed to a function of how complicated the case was, however, I am well aware my case is fairly straight-forward for any prosecutor.

I did briefly consider appealing to the CPS on the basis of the 'public interest' part of their 2-stage test - essentially reiterating what I had initially represented to the police: alternative out-of-court disposals were available enabling an equivocal if not greater penalty whilst safegaurding public interests and sparing cost to the wider criminal justice system. Also mentioning My licence is clean despite driving for over a decade and other mitigating factors including empty motorway, first thing in the morning with excellent driving conditions etc. However, I am sure they would not discontinue on these grounds and this would essentially end any 'not guilty' plea.

Thanks again for taking the time to read and reply.
« Last Edit: May 13, 2024, 12:29:54 am by nathanielclyne »

nathanielclyne

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Re: SP50 - Prosecution to Proof?
« Reply #6 on: May 13, 2024, 12:42:24 am »
I presume the attached certificate of calibration is genuine.

I did consider wondering whether I could mitigate and ( 0 points, clean license, empty motorway, good driving conditions) and ask for 'conditional discharge' whilst still imposing the relevant points and fine etc as it really is just the semantics of a formal criminal conviction I am trying to avoid - although I realise this is unlikely at this stage!

The Slithy Tove

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Re: SP50 - Prosecution to Proof?
« Reply #7 on: May 13, 2024, 07:07:47 am »
I really wanted to resolve this without a formal court conviction. Mainly as a court convictions become formal criminal convictions requiring disclosure as opposed to FPN's which are not 'convictions' per se and never have to be mentioned on any form ( be that VISA's jobs etc - I am aware speeding on it own is non-recordable but if asked motoring offences are not specifically excluded this will require disclosure).
Most forms I have filled in that ask such questions exclude such offences. You won't need to disclose it for example, for US immigration, DBS checks, even UK Government Security Clearance isn't bothered by such offences. I think you are over-worrying about an offence that a significant number of people have had over time.

andy_foster

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Re: SP50 - Prosecution to Proof?
« Reply #8 on: May 13, 2024, 07:15:47 am »
If you are looking to rely on a defence of insanity, you should be aware that the burden on the defence is to prove it beyond any reasonable doubt.

If you are looking for a technical defence of putting the police to proof on some ingredient of the offence and hoping that they fail to prove that ingredient, absent some issue specific to your case, the starting point would invariably be the contents of any statements or certificates disclosed with the SJPN. As you have not meaningfully shared those with us, you are currently just wasting our time and yours.
I am responsible for the accuracy of the information I post, not your ability to comprehend it.

The Rookie

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Re: SP50 - Prosecution to Proof?
« Reply #9 on: May 13, 2024, 08:31:32 am »
You seem to basically be relying on a prosecution error, they do of course happen but I'd give no better odds than 100:1 of it happening, if you are well off enough to consider a circa £1000 extra (noting if you're better paid the fine will be higher so the loss of discount will be bigger likewise the surcharge so you could be looking at nearer £1200or more extra) as worth the gamble, have at it.  Otherwise I'd suggest it's a fools errand and you are better off minimising the impact.

I'm not aware of any change in reporting requirements from 3 points for an FPN and 5/6 from a court case, can you clarify why you think they are different?

There are motorists who have been scammed and those who are yet to be scammed!

nathanielclyne

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Re: SP50 - Prosecution to Proof?
« Reply #10 on: May 13, 2024, 09:20:02 am »
Dear The Rookie

Thank you for taking the time to reply. Indeed at this stage it is mainly a hope for prosecution error, albeit unlikely.

I have been through many employment applications recently in a competitive field and in hindsight they all asked the question 'Have you been convicted of an offence of any nature' - as I understand the usual FPN 3 points can be truly ignored whereas the court fines constitute convictions as there is admission/ finding of guilt and cannot be excluded. (Even on flight incoming passenger cards the question is 'Do you have any criminal convictions?')

I did consider wondering whether I could mitigate and ( 0 points, clean license, empty motorway, good driving conditions) and ask for 'conditional discharge' whilst still imposing the relevant points and fine etc as it really is just the semantics of a formal criminal conviction I am trying to avoid - although I realise this is unlikely at this stage!

The SJPN has a police report with offence wording - on x date a motor vehicle on a motorway travelling at a speed of 96mph at a speed exceeding 70mph contrary to regulation 3 of the Motorways Traffic Regulations 1974..

There is then a witness statement from an evidence assessor stating that they are employed as such by Central Ticket Office. Their duties include the checking and collation of documents sent out by GMP CTO and their production as business records for court proceedings.

They go on to say a prescribed device of a type approved by the Secretary of State was placed at said Motorway

At said date and time  a vehicle with my reg number caused the device to be activated speeding at 96mph in a 70mph speed zone.

This offence detection was processed within the CTO under file reference number.....

A successful login to PAS system was made, this system allows access to information regarding the alleged offence.e. photographic evidence, camera calibration certificates answers to FAQ's and on line driver admissions and nominations can be made.

Driver admission was submitted and all required data fields completed. Application is made to the court to grant a direction for the prosecution witness to give live evidence over a live CVP link.

Again thank you to everyone who has taken the time to reply thus far.

The Rookie

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Re: SP50 - Prosecution to Proof?
« Reply #11 on: May 13, 2024, 11:22:56 am »
I have been through many employment applications recently in a competitive field and in hindsight they all asked the question 'Have you been convicted of an offence of any nature' - as I understand the usual FPN 3 points can be truly ignored whereas the court fines constitute convictions as there is admission/ finding of guilt and cannot be excluded. (Even on flight incoming passenger cards the question is 'Do you have any criminal convictions?')

Pedantically a fixed penalty isn't a conviction but never under estimate the ability of HR departments top not say what they mean and they probably believe you would/should declare FPs so in the interest of not misleading them you should probably be declaring them, especially if they will have a reason to access your driving record.  As for visiting foreign countries, many of whom don't have an FP equivalent and so would expect an admission of guilt to be the same as conviction, you would risk their ire by answering in the negative.

As for your public interest test, laughable I'm afraid.
There are motorists who have been scammed and those who are yet to be scammed!

slapdash

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Re: SP50 - Prosecution to Proof?
« Reply #12 on: May 13, 2024, 11:53:52 am »
Regarding the flight questions  it depends on what the destination wants to know.

The guidance on the US for example is reasonably clear that a minor motoring offence is fine. It doesn't define minor of course. As such the VWP/ESTA route can still be used and "no" answered on the application and landing card.

My last AUS visa it seemed reasonably clear that I had to answer yes, the guidance at that time made no exceptions. The result was a couple of days delay.




NewJudge

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Re: SP50 - Prosecution to Proof?
« Reply #13 on: May 13, 2024, 12:37:00 pm »
Quote
I am not sure which cases are more likely to have disclosure deadlines missed
Quote

Once you have your SJPN you should also have the "Initial Details of the Prosecution Case" (IDPC). This should be the evidence the police intend to rely on to convict you. Unless there is anything missing that's all the disclosure you are entitled to and are likely to get. Do you believe there is anything missing?

Quote
I did briefly consider appealing to the CPS on the basis of the 'public interest' part of their 2-stage test - essentially reiterating what I had initially represented to the police: alternative out-of-court disposals were available enabling an equivocal if not greater penalty whilst safegaurding public interests and sparing cost to the wider criminal justice system


Why would it not be in the public interest to prosecute you? I would suggest it would be against the public interest not to do so. The police have guidance on the enforcement of speeding offences which suggest they may offer out-of-court (OOC) disposals for less serious occurrences. Your offence is above the threshold for one of those (just). The public need to have confidence that the police are not abusing their OOC options and that offenders receive the appropriate penalties. In any case, the decision to prosecute you has been taken by the police, not the CPS. The CPS will only become involved in the event of a not guilty plea being entered, where they would normally assume responsibility for the trial. They have no need to revisit the decision to prosecute. It would hardly sit well if the police decided that prosecution was appropriate only to see the CPS discontinue the prosecution. One of the aims of the guidance the police use is to achieve consistency.

I don't know what "alternative out-of-court disposals" you have in mind which would enable "an equivocal if not greater penalty" to be imposed. A fixed penalty would cost £100 and three points. Sentencing in court for your offence, even with a guilty plea, will cost you two thirds of a week's income as a fine, a surcharge of 40% of that fine, costs of around £90 and at least four but more probably five points.

Quote
Also mentioning My licence is clean despite driving for over a decade and other mitigating factors including empty motorway, first thing in the morning with excellent driving conditions etc.


Nothing you mention is mitigation. You having previous convictions or the conditions being adverse would aggravate a speeding offence, but you  having a clean licence or the conditions being favourable do not mitigate it.

Quote
I did consider wondering whether I could mitigate and ( 0 points, clean license, empty motorway, good driving conditions) and ask for 'conditional discharge' whilst still imposing the relevant points and fine etc as it really is just the semantics of a formal criminal conviction I am trying to avoid...

It's not going to happen but it wouldn't matter if it did. You would still have been convicted. A Conditional Discharge is simply a disposal available to the court to deal with those convicted.

As far as the trial process goes, you are perfectly entitled to simply "put the prosecution to proof." However, at some stage before your trial (usually at a case management hearing) you will be asked to identify the issue(s) in dispute. You don't seem to have any, other than the fact that you would prefer not to be prosecuted. It is a very brave (for that read "foolhardy") strategy to rely on a procedural error (and that's largely what you are doing) to secure an acquittal.

I believe you are clutching at straws. The police will not revisit their decision to prosecute you and the CPS has no reason to look at it again.

I take it you've checked such things as whether the first NIP was served within 14 days?

nathanielclyne

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Re: SP50 - Prosecution to Proof?
« Reply #14 on: May 13, 2024, 02:51:47 pm »
Dear New Judge,

Many thanks for your detailed response.

Indeed the NIP was served within 14 days.

The SJPN does not have a specific page titled IDPC however I have attached the Police Report Pages which I presume are the same thing.

I did note when stating my driving license number there is administrative error whereby my Car registration is listed instead, and is listed as 'foreign DL' although I have a full UK license - I presume a small clerical error as such however would not amount to defence.

I accept I am likely in hope a small procedural fault or similar disclosure failure / the case being discontinued for some other reason.

I was advised by one solicitor that my options would be to Plead not guilty and check the evidence which carries no guarantees, although case can be won if the evidence is incorrect.

I was advised there may be practical problems when prosecuting lower priority cases with Evidence often missing/incomplete and many cases resolved before court.

If all the evidence ‘checks out’, consider offering a guilty plea to a lower speed (e.g. 90mph) ( apparently this depends upon the prosecutor in court and whether they’re willing to accept the reduced speed, but in his experience, most are, as it brings the case to an end quickly and with minimum cost/effort and is then more likely the magistrates will impose a conditional discharge (due to the lower speed).

It was my understanding conditional and absolute discharges followed findings of guilt but did not constitute criminal convictions per se thus did not need to be disclosed as such (my main aim).

I do realise I am in an unenviable position with a strict time deadline and appreciate everyone who has taken the time to respond.