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8th February 2017

BB Law recently dealt with a ‘Laser Jammer’ case. Our client’s case was concluded at York Crown Court on 7th February 2017 when our client narrowly avoided an immediate custodial sentence Read more ….

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11th August 2016

This client instructed BB Law a few days before his trial.  We persuaded the prosecution to drop the s.172 charge (which carries a large fine and minimum of 6 points) in return for a guilty plea to the original minor red-light offence.  This was potentially a difficult task because the red-light offence was well over […]

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8th February 2017


Laser Jammers – How many UK drivers are risking a prison sentence every time they get behind the wheel?

BB Law recently dealt with a ‘Laser Jammer’ case. Our client’s case was concluded at York Crown Court on 7th February 2017 when our client narrowly avoided an immediate custodial sentence.

Read More ….

 


16th June 2016


Prosecution routinely failing to re-serve their evidence in cases where defendants have made Statutory Declarations

Read More ….

 


7th June 2016


BB Law prove Gatso speed camera to be wildly inaccurate

In March 2016 we were instructed to act as specialist motoring law solicitors for Mr Baird, who was being prosecuted by Staffordshire Police for an alleged speeding offence.  A Gatso speed camera had recorded our client’s van to have been travelling at 85mph in a 30mph speed limit in December 2015. Our client knew this was wrong and he asked the police to check their evidence but the police dismissed his concerns and subsequently summoned him to Stafford and then Newcastle-under-Lyme Magistrates’ courts.

Read More ….

 


5th December 2015


Criminal Court Fees Abandoned from 24/12/15

The government has seen sense and scrapped the Criminal Court Charge less than a year after the charge was first introduced (see previous blog entry dated 5th April 2015).
MPs on the Justice Committee published a report in November 2015, in which they said the fee, which is not means-tested, created “serious problems” and was often “grossly disproportionate”.
This is good news for now but how long will it be before a new scheme is introduced?

 


5th April 2015


New court fees to hit drivers the hardest

Motorists who find themselves in court for traffic offences committed on or after 13th April 2015 will face new court fees introduced by last minute legislation brought in by the government in the final few days of parliament.
The fees will apply regardless of whether the driver pleads guilty or not guilty, although those who are found guilty after a trial will incur a higher fee than those who plead guilty.
The ‘court charges’, a sample of which are set out below, are in addition to any fine imposed by the court and in addition to any costs the defendant is ordered to pay to the prosecuting authority.
  • Guilty plea in the magistrates’ court – £150
  • Found guilty after trial in the magistrates’ court – summary only (minor) offence – £520
  • Found guilty after a trial in the magistrates’ court – either way (serious) offence – £1000
  • Found guilty after trial in the Crown Court – £1200.
The court has no discretion as to whether to impose the charges, although those who have not managed to pay the charges within 2 years can ask for them to be written off.
The government minister in charge of the justice system, Chris Grayling, has claimed the fees are justified because those who use the courts should be required to pay for them. Mr Grayling hasn’t yet explained how the flat rate fees were calculated.
Unfortunately, there appears to be scope for unfairness, particularly where the motorist is concerned. Take for example, someone who is prosecuted for an allegation of ‘failing to provide driver details to the police’ (s.172 Road Traffic Act 1988). Their trial probably wouldn’t require the attendance of any prosecution witnesses and might take less than an hour, yet if they are found guilty they would have to pay the full £520 charge on top of the prosecution costs, any fine imposed and the victim surcharge. The court can often deal with 6 or more of these trials in a single courtroom, in a single day. £3120 per day to operate a courtroom might not be considered to reasonably reflect the true costs incurred.
Some courtrooms will deal with 80 motoring cases in a single day, if all 80 defendants pleaded guilty by post or online, then a court could impose £12 000 of the £150 guilty plea charges, in a single day!
At the other end of the scale, a person who is convicted of Common Assault after a 2 week trial in the magistrates’ court, will still pay the same £520 charge. Could it be that the motorist is being required to foot more than their fair share of the bill for the justice system?
The charges have also raised concerns that innocent people will decide to plead guilty rather than risk incurring the higher court charge.
So why will the government get away with this? The answer is that the vast majority of the motoring public never think they’ll end up in court, so they can never foresee this affecting them. However, in my job as a specialist road traffic solicitor I speak to people day in and day out, who never dreamt they would face prosecution in the magistrates’ court. Yes, some of them are guilty but some are innocent and a significant proportion are in that grey area somewhere between the two.
What is clear, is that now more then ever, drivers need to take expert advice as to how to approach a prosecution as the stakes are getting higher and higher.
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