Tuesday, March 31, 2009

For the man with the nice German car and the personalised number plate.

You overtook an ancient Honda, and the copper by the roadside clocked you doing over 50 when the road said 40. He handed you the fixed penalty notice.

You instructed a lawyer from a good firm and stayed home while he set to work expensively, pedantically, laboriously picking holes in the evidence. It was a shame you didn't see him work.

Your man was a magician. An artist. You would have been proud.

"This piece of paper was late" he said."The Magistrates can't consider it in evidence".

"The unknown calibrator of the laser gun scrawled their name and can't be traced" he said. "The Magistrates can't consider the certificate of calibration in evidence".

"The speed signs on the road may have been there for eight years, but no-one can point to the local govenment ordinance that makes it legally binding."

I tell you what; given enough time your man could have proved the non-existence of the road and the two towns it connects. He could even have cast doubt on our understanding of the terms "miles", "per" and "hour".

There was no way we could convict. After all, there wasn't any evidence left standing once your man sat down. Based on the say-so of a copper with a probably accurate laser gun it was more than likely that you were speeding. But "more than likely" doesn't get the job done.

Look, congratulations and all that : you have an absolute right to protest your innocence and to hire the best lawyer you can get a hold of.

You were even awarded costs - and so you didn't pay a penny.

But listen. That means that the taxpayer had to stump up for the whole exercise. Hasn't the government got better things to pay for than an expensive lawyer to protect your precious clean licence? I wonder what will need to be cancelled to make the budgets balance.

Even worse : the police officer had to attend court for half a day when he could have been out policing the county. I'm sure I'm wicked for wondering if you're the type to mouth off in the pub about there not being enough bobbies on the beat.

I just hope that you genuinely were innocent. I would hate to think that the whole expensive and frustrating performance was based on a lie.


Anonymous said...

So they bought an invalid case with bad evidence that someone was breaking a speed limit which wasn't lawfully set?

So not only could the prosecution not prove he was doing 50, they can't even prove the speed limit wasn't 60?

That's his fault?


Stan said...

I agree with you - which is why we acquitted him and awarded costs.


(a) this guy was an innnocent victim - in which case I'm cross with the CPS for bringing the prosecution without evidence.


(b) this guy was guilty and a good lawyer got him off, in which case I'm cross with him. Not to mention the CPS and the police for not having their ducks in a row.

Either way - I'm cross.

AndyC said...

I guess there was no way you could have acquitted without making an order for costs?

Stan said...

As I remember, costs could only be refused in some limited (I forget, so sue me) circumstances which didn't apply here.