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Old 5th Sep 2006, 08:08
  #294 (permalink)  
Flying Lawyer
Join Date: Jul 2000
Location: London
Posts: 2,917
None of the above
Originally Posted by None of the above View Post

Could I emphasise this part of the article?


The matter was referred to the town's magistrates court where Mr Freeman appeared to plead his case. After three appearances he was advised by the court clerk that he should change his plea to guilty.
“I was told by the clerk I had little chance of winning and if it went to trial it would have cost me huge legal fees,”

Of course the law is accessible to all.............. just like the Savoy Grill.
I meant to comment on your post earlier and forgot.

If the clerk of the court has been correctly quoted, then I think he/she was very unwise to say it, but it wasn't necessarily bad advice.

“I was told by the clerk I had little chance of winning ....."
Assuming the clerk worked regularly at that court and was familiar with the magistrates, he/she would be able to predict with reasonable (not infallible) accuracy how they would be likely to react to the defence case.
Unless things have changed dramatically since I cut my teeth in the magistrates courts (and my conversations with young barristers suggest they haven't), then the chances of being acquitted in a motoring case are very low.

"..... and if it went to trial it would have cost me huge legal fees.”
If Mr Freeman had fought the case and lost, the amount he would have been ordered to pay towards the prosecution's costs is likely to have been a lot higher than the £35 he was ordered to pay when he pleaded guilty.

If I'd been asked for advice informally by a friend in Mr Freeman's position at the stage when the Scamera Partnership rejected his explanation, I would have given two answers.
Theoretical: Fight the case.
Practical: Balance your entirely reasonable indignation against the inconvenience and loss of income attending court at least once, the prospects of winning (statistically not good), the increased costs if you fight and lose, and consider cutting your losses by accepting the fixed penalty.

Some years ago, a PC reported me for failing to comply with a traffic sign. I hadn't committed the offence, and was determined to fight the case. However, it would have been my word against his and, having weighed up my chances of winning and the other practical considerations, I eventually decided to cut my losses. I pleaded guilty by post.
Irritating, but nowhere near as irritating or expensive as fighting and losing would have been.

Last edited by Flying Lawyer; 5th Sep 2006 at 08:24.
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