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hopey7

court date for speeding and FtF - Can I transfer case to local court

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Hi all

 

I have a court date for speeding and FtF. Court is 140 miles from my home. I have written to the Clerk of the court for transfer to my local court. I haven’t heard back yet after 10 days. Just want to find out if such request can be granted.

 

Also, I have been asked to go and work abroad for 3 weeks. I finish the posting 3 days after my original court date. Can I ask for adjournment or do I have to reject my job posting?

 

Every input greatly appreciated.

 

Thanks all.

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Yes you can ask for the matter to be transferred and they should readily agree provided you intend pleading guilty. Though with the usual two offences charged I imagine you'll be wanting to do a "deal" (to get the FtF dropped if you plead guilty to speeding).

 

you can ask for an adjournment but provide some evidence of your work posting along with your request.

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Great stuff. Yes, I will be looking to do a deal, that’s why I was a bit concerned.

Thanks Man in the middle. 

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I was prosecuted for speeding and FtF.

I was hoping to go to court and try to get the FtF dropped by pleading guilty to the speeding.

I was sent away on a short contract which was due to finish a few days after court date.

My request for adjournment and also for transfer to my local court were rejected.

 

Now I didn't even get any letters of rejection, I only found out a few days to court date when I phoned the court.

By this time I was away on this contract.

 

It was not possible for me to leave work to attend court so I had to send a plea via email to the court administrator that dealt with my query.

I attached an income/expenditure statement.

I pleaded guilty to the speeding but asked for the FtF charge to be reconsidered.

 

When I arrived back home, days after the court date, not knowing what to expect, the court letter was waiting.

The speeding charge was dropped but I got 6 points for the FtF plus £660 fine, £66 victim surcharge and £300 cost.

 

I have read that the fine is supposed to be a percentage of weekly earning but this fine exceeds my weekly income. 

Can I appeal this fine on the basis that it is excessive?

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Hi.

 

Is this connected with your previous thread please?

 

HB


Illegitimi non carborundum

 

 

 

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Yes, it is. 

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Thank you. I've merged the threads because it's better for the advisers to see the history of your problem. You'll get more complete advice too. :)

 

HB


Illegitimi non carborundum

 

 

 

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When you asked for an adjournment, did you explain you would be out of the country on work?  If you gave a good reason for asking, I'm surprised they refused(?).

 

Unfortunately, if you were charged with speeding and FtF, you probably ought to have pled not guilty to both and then, on the day in court, approached the prosecutor and offered to plead guilty to the speeding IF they dropped the FtF.  Of course, if you weren't there you could not do that.  If you pled guilty to the speeding, I'm a bit surprised they dropped it and didn't give you points for that as well - so in that sense you've been lucky.  (I'm assuming they must have prosecuted you in time for the speeding?)

 

Don't know about the level of fine I'm afraid.  Did you supply the court with income details?

 

Somebody else may know if there's anything else you can do (eg about the refused adjournment?).

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Thanks HB

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2 hours ago, Manxman in exile said:

When you asked for an adjournment, did you explain you would be out of the country on work?  If you gave a good reason for asking, I'm surprised they refused(?).

 

Unfortunately, if you were charged with speeding and FtF, you probably ought to have pled not guilty to both and then, on the day in court, approached the prosecutor and offered to plead guilty to the speeding IF they dropped the FtF.  Of course, if you weren't there you could not do that.  If you pled guilty to the speeding, I'm a bit surprised they dropped it and didn't give you points for that as well - so in that sense you've been lucky.  (I'm assuming they must have prosecuted you in time for the speeding?)

 

Don't know about the level of fine I'm afraid.  Did you supply the court with income details?

 

Somebody else may know if there's anything else you can do (eg about the refused adjournment?).

I wasn’t actually out of the country but having accepted to do the contract down by the south coast, it was difficult to get a replacement.

 

I initially pled not guilty, hoping to attend court and try to get the FtF dropped. But when it became obvious that I couldn’t attend court and the case would proceed in my absence, I decided to change my plea and hope the prosecutor might be kind too. 

I was lucky with the points though cos it was entirely out of my hands and I could easily have got 9pts.

Just a bit miffed about the level of fine as I supplied income/expenditure details. 

 

Thanks Manxman in exile. 

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Yeah - lucky not to get nine points then.

 

I presume the fine would be in accordance with your declared income(?).  Don't know enough about the fines structure to comment further.  Somebody else might know if you can question it.

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4 hours ago, Man in the middle said:

I will answer properly tomorrow as I have limited access at present.

Thanks Man in the middle. 

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Posted (edited)

It seems there are a number of issues here. The first is that the matter was heard in your absence even though you informed the court that you would not be able to attend the hearing. It is most unusual for a court not to allow an adjournment for a minor motoring matter when the defendant has asked for one and has a good reason for asking.

 

Unfortunately, pleading guilty to speeding was the worst thing you could have done. They have no evidence that you were driving (that comes from you providing your details). When I asked you earlier whether you intended to ask for the usual “deal” (to drop the FtF charge in exchange for pleading guilty to speeding) I assumed you knew that you must maintain Not Guilty pleas to both matters until the deal was agreed. What I don’t understand is why you have not been convicted of speeding in view of that plea (and, as mentioned, how you didn’t land up with nine points).

 

The fine and costs seem to have been based on the default weekly income of £440 per week (the fine is 1.5 times weekly income). So, unless the income you stated was coincidentally £440 pw, it seems the statement of income you provided has not been used.

 

This is a mess, some of it down to you and some, it seems possibly down to the court. An appeal to the Crown Court is not advisable. You have not mentioned why you failed to provide the driver’s details but without you being there to offer a defence (and it’s a difficult charge to defend anyway) you were probably properly convicted of that. You were also lucky not to have been convicted of speeding. If you appeal against conviction to the Crown Court it will almost certainly fail and you may end up with a speeding conviction plus the Crown Court costs (which may be around £1k) into the bargain.

 

I believe your avenue of approach should be to the Clerk to the Justices of the area where the court is (details are available online from HMRC website). You should asked for the matter to be reopened under Section 142 of the Magistrates’ Court act. Paragraph 1 of that section says this:

 

  Power of magistrates’ court to re-open cases to rectify mistakes etc.

(1)    A magistrates’ court may vary or rescind a sentence or other order imposed or made by it when dealing with an offender if it appears to the court to be in the interests of justice to do so; and it is hereby declared that this power extends to replacing a sentence or order which for any reason appears to be invalid by another which the court has power to impose or make.

 

You should make your request on the grounds that you were refused the adjournment you requested, were not informed of that refusal, and therefore had no opportunity to attend your hearing. I would attach a copy of your original request. You were therefore not able to properly state your case. You can also state that you were not fined in accordance with your means (though be a bit careful with that if your income is significantly above £440 pw).

 

The issue really is that, faced with being unable to attend the hearing and learning only a short time beforehand that your adjournment had not been granted you were panicked into action that you had not properly considered (i.e. pleading guilty to speeding). I would not, however, put it like that (because that is what you intend to do anyway if you get a fresh hearing and are able to do a “deal”). The deal with the prosecution is conducted routinely every day and will be well known to the Clerk to the Justices, the prosecutor and the Magistrates. But you need to secure a fresh hearing, have the original conviction set aside, and start anew. A request under S142 is the only way to achieve that so I hope you succeed. You may want to seek legal advice to help you with the above. Alas to get representation in court will almost certainly cost you more than you might save but bear in mind you now have an endorsement code MS90 on your licence. Insurers absolutely hate that (because they wonder what you might have done that you didn't want to accept you were driving) and it will increase your premiums for up to five years (might be worth getting a couple of dummy quotes to see the effect).

 

I don't think I can help much further but if so le me know.

 

Edited by Man in the middle
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5 hours ago, Man in the middle said:

 

Quote

Unfortunately, pleading guilty to speeding was the worst thing you could have done. They have no evidence that you were driving (that comes from you providing your details). When I asked you earlier whether you intended to ask for the usual “deal” (to drop the FtF charge in exchange for pleading guilty to speeding) I assumed you knew that you must maintain Not Guilty pleas to both matters until the deal was agreed. 

 

Obviously I panicked and  decided to put up some kind of representation and hope for the best rather than NOT showing up and NOTHING for the court to rely on leaving me at risk of 9pts. 

 

 

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5 hours ago, Man in the middle said:

 

Quote

What I don’t understand is why you have not been convicted of speeding in view of that plea (and, as mentioned, how you didn’t land up with nine points).

 

Could it be that because I didn't provide details of the driver they chose to ignore my plea on speeding.

When I saw the 6pts, I almost fainted cos I was obviously expecting to get another 3pts for speeding which I pleaded guilty to. I drive for a living and currently have 3pts on my license. But I turned over the pages of the court letter and there was no mention of the speeding charge. So even though I feel happy with the outcome (it could have been worse due to all the mess), I can now see that I didn't get a fair shot.

 

 

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Quote

The fine and costs seem to have been based on the default weekly income of £440 per week (the fine is 1.5 times weekly income). So, unless the income you stated was coincidentally £440 pw, it seems the statement of income you provided has not been used.

 

This appears to be the case cos the income statement is a little over £440.

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Great stuff Man in the middle, worth waiting for.

 

i will try the section 142 route.

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BTW what is the time limit to put in the appeal? It has been 14 days since the judgment.

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Posted (edited)

Unlike an appeal to the Crown Court (where the time limit is 21 days) there is no time limit on S142 applications (as far as I can recall). However, you need to act asap because the longer you leave it the less likely the court is to accede to your request to reopen.

 

It occurs to me from what you have said that if the court seemingly ignored your statement of income the likely explanation is they received neither that nor your guilty plea to speeding. There is no reason for the speeding matter to be dropped if you pleaded guilty, but it could not be proved without your guilty plea. There is a strong likelihood that neither were received and this could add a bit of weight to your request to have the matter reopened.

 

If you do manage to get your matter reopened, whatever you do, do not plead guilty to either offence until you have explored the possibility of the deal. If your offer of the deal is declined you should maintain your NG plea to speeding (it cannot be proved without you providing your details in the form of a Section 172 response). You haven't mentioned why you failed to respond but if you have no valid defence and the prosecution insists on continuing it you may be forced into a guilty plea. At least you'll get a third off the fine (though not the points) and the costs will be limited to £85.

 

 

Edited by Man in the middle

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Seems very strange to me they didn't allow an adjournment(?).

 

Looks as if s.142 is your only likelihood of getting the six points reduced to three (and stopping insurance premiums rocketing because of the FtF conviction).

 

I wonder if there's any potential downside to going down the s.142 route, or just be grateful you didn't end up with nine points.  Perhaps Man in the middle can advise?

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17 minutes ago, Man in the middle said:

It occurs to me from what you have said that if the court seemingly ignored your statement of income the likely explanation is they received neither that nor your guilty plea to speeding. There is no reason for the speeding matter to be dropped if you pleaded guilty, but it could not be proved without your guilty plea. There is a strong likelihood that neither were received and this could add a bit of weight to your request to have the matter reopened.

 

I thought this might be the case also. I sent my plea and means statement over a weekend. I then called the court on the Monday, the day before my case, to ask if it they received the documents. I was assured that they received it and attached to my file ready for the court. I made a record of names of people I spoke to.

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3 minutes ago, Manxman in exile said:

Seems very strange to me they didn't allow an adjournment(?).

 

Looks as if s.142 is your only likelihood of getting the six points reduced to three (and stopping insurance premiums rocketing because of the FtF conviction).

 

I wonder if there's any potential downside to going down the s.142 route, or just be grateful you didn't end up with nine points.  Perhaps Man in the middle can advise?

 

True. But like Man in the middle said, I will seek some legal advice beforehand which is why I asked about time limit.

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26 minutes ago, Man in the middle said:

You haven't mentioned why you failed to respond but if you have no valid defence and the prosecution insists on continuing it you may be forced into a guilty plea.

 

From previous discussion, I don't have any valid defence.

But my reason was that I didn't receive the original NIP. A reminder arrived 7 days to the deadline. I emailed to ask for more time because I was certain that I was on a 40MPH road and wanted to visit the location again. But I now realise that providing driver details has nothing to do with all that. I didn't get further time and the deadline expired. Weeks later, the summons arrived.

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Good Luck.

 

Also, I don't understand how they dropped the speeding charge if you pled guilty to it.  Either they felt sorry for you or your case has attracted a lot of weird stuff!

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