'NOT GUILTY' MOTORISTS FACE COURT COSTS

Discussion in 'Current Affairs' started by Passed-over_Loggie, Oct 22, 2009.

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  1. I did consider Posting this on the Motoring Forum but I think the principle has much wider consequences. Lifted from Piston Heads: http://www.pistonheads.com/news/default.asp?storyId=20842

    The taxed and insured motorist (as opposed to the “no fixed abode†pikiesâ€), of course, is a sitting target and ripe to be cropped. I am certainly signing the petition against it. This will also encourage the Authorities to pursue the “marginal†infringements in the sound knowledge that they can’t really lose; even when they do.

    It grips me to ask this but isn’t it an infringement of our “human rights�
     
  2. Blackrat

    Blackrat War Hero Moderator Book Reviewer

    One would assume. But why stop here? Why not get the person who has been found not guilty after a jury trial to pay all the costs as well? It's much the same thing IMO. What a farce the judicial process has become in recent years.
     
  3. My friend you forget that the principle of 'Innocent until proved guilty' was long ago abandoned. In the UK you are now all guilty, or assumed you will be in the future. Why else would they keep the DNA of those arrested but not charged? Something which continues despite various judgements of the european courts.
    Handy hint - Never but never produce your driving licence if stopped, always elect to produce it later. This will give you valuable time to properly assess what you are charged with, and if necessary contest it.
    Having to pay a pittance of court costs (which you may never end up paying) is preferrable to having an unjustified conviction.
     
  4. Before everyone gets hysterical, people will only be asked to pay their own costs, not those of the court or the crown. This is an attempt to stop people using expensive briefs (like the one known as 'Mr Loophole') to get off on a technicality. Lets face it, if you're caught speeding, it's a safe bet that you've broken the law. Pleading not guilty on the grounds of insufficient speed camera signage isn't the mark of an innocent man.
     
  5. I think there is a fairly fundamental point about the primacy of the rule of law, a fairly key concept in liberal democracy and more important to me that the human rights argument.

    Essentially the exercise of the law should not impact on the innocent, and that includes imposing needless cost, however minor.

    If the legal system makes a mistake, then the legal system should compensate the victim of that mistake.

    Ah, the old no smoke without fire argument...

    I was accused of speeding a few years ago, it took nearly a year to clear my name. If it had gone to court the straightforward costs (including logistics) would have been close to £1000. My defence was simple; that photograph is not my car, it's a different manufacturer, model, colour and at the time of the photo being taken I was 250 miles away, in my office.

    Is it reasonable that I should bear those costs myself, given the scale of the cock up in the police force concerned?
     
  6. Ah, 'if it had gone to court.....' If it had gone to court, you could have sued them for malicious prosecution. You could have made a tidy sum. If it had gone to court.
     
  7. Good job that you weren't a Brazilian electrician. :thumbright:

    RM
     
  8. I tend more towards seeing cock-up rather than conspiracy, and from what I managed to get out of the force the audit trail would not have supported any assertion of malicious.

    Notwithstanding that, my previous point remains. Exercising the rule of law should not cost the innocent.
     
  9. I think there maybe some confusion here.ALL Motoring cases that go to Court will now despite the Verdict or Penance handed down include a mandatory Fine/Tax/Levy call it what you will.I beleive this goes towards the Victims fund or some MP's pocket.Its usually about £15 or £20 i think.I cant remember what i had to pay.
     
  10. If Andym's version of events is correct it would appear to be some kind of entrance fee to the Courtroom which has no bearing on whatever you are there for.The cynic in me suggests that it is more likely a device to try and put off people challenging what they view as an unfair prosecution.
     
  11. Standing by to be corrected but, having only had call to use the facility many, many years ago, I was able to get FREE legal representation as part of my AA membership when I considered I was being wrongly accused of jumping a red light once. Consequently, my costs were zero and even if I hand't got off would still have been zero. Of course the AA had to pick up the bill BUT they chose to fight the case on my behalf because they considered it worth fighting for.

    If such a scheme reduces the number of "chancers" trying to get off on technicalities when they know full well they were caught bang to rights I am actually in favour of it (with qualification). Of course it would probably mean a minor insurance-risk-driven increase in AA membership costs but that should be quite modest.
     
  12. That must be very reassuring to all the other AA Members who’s renewal cost will have increased to cover that expense. As you seem to recognise, there’s no such thing as a free service.
     
  13. And I still include myself in that group because I have been a continuous AA member for the best part of 30 years with less than a dozen call outs or calls on my membership services in that time. Do you have a problem with that?

    Any increase in costs to accommodate legal assistance WOULD be modest, WOULD be subject to exception clauses by the AA should they feel the service was liable to abuse and WOULD in part contribute to a more efficient judicial system free of time wasters and chancers (and overinflated loophole lawyers.
     
  14. You ask if I have a problem with that. Not at all; I'm with the RAC.

    You make your argument well. As the criminal system is similarly populated by "time wasters and chancers (and overinflated loophole lawyers", I take it you would be in favour of extending the principle to the entire legal system?
     
  15. I have legal cover with my insurance cover which would certainly (I've checked) cover dubious litigation on the part of the rozzers. Nor would using it affect my renewal premium.
    I use DirectLine in the UK and its' Spanish cohort LineaDirecta in Spain, the latter gives by far the better deal by the way and includes lots of things that would be extra in the UK.
    In fact my Spanish policy advises that any attempted prosecution should be passed directly to them, as a matter of course. No hassle, no problems and with a bit of luck the paperwork will languish with them for years.
     
  16. When prosecutions from speed cameras became legal and you were deemed to be guilty until proven otherwise and further more expected to admit you were driving at the time.Many checks and balances were inserted governing the the authorities on how they should conduct the summons plus signage requirements at the site of the camera.All this was in the interest of fairness after the loss of freedoms such as "not guilty until convicted and the right to silence not to give evidence against yourself.The Loophole lawyers have spotted that these requirements from the authorities are being flouted in many different ways and get their clients off.If the powers that be got their acts together and folllowed the rules Mr Loophole would be redundant.
     
  17. Actually, provided there are appropriate safeguards in place to ensure that civil liberties do not get trampled underfoot by a new draconian justice system (and I remain naively optimistic that the UK still believes in fairness and will continue to do so) then I would support that principle being extended.

    The issue will be to not throw baby out with the bathwater but we have seen far too many anecdotal examples of "criminal waste of taxpayers money" by unscrupulous lawyers lining their own pockets by jumping on the latest legal bandwagon including (IMHO) such things as appeals against deportation by illegal immigrants. If they feel so strongly about the cases they represent then let them do the work "pro bono" - they make enough money elsewhere to be able to do a few freebies when the mood strikes them.

    Sorry, got a bit off thread there.
     
  18. The very fact that the AA/RAC or who ever may cover your litigation is still paying costs is wrong. Although I agree that this will cut down on Joe Public using more expensive legal representatitives such as "Mr Loophole". Is it right that only the rich can afford that level of representation? As with many things in life, you generally pay for what you get.
     
  19. The AA or RAC should bring a test case before the High Court under the Human Rights Act on the grounds that this comes within the ambit of Article 6 of the European Convention on Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms 1950, impeding the right to a fair trial on costs grounds and raises questions about if a trial can be fair if the defence must finance its own costs whilst the prosecution are bankrolled by the taxpayer. In the European Court of Human Rights it is an established principle that when a government loses a case it pays the costs of both sides. If this remains unchallenged it will establish a precident that WILL be abused, what ever party is in power!

    See the Cabinet Office link below, particularly paras 12.3-4

    http://www.cabinetoffice.gov.uk/sec...ic/legislative_programme/guide_html/echr.aspx
     

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