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Driving At 159mph Is Safe

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Driving At 159mph Is Safe

Old 3rd Sep 2006, 21:43
  #281 (permalink)  
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Don't be silly Grainger. Where's a confession? Where's the duress?
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Old 4th Sep 2006, 07:26
  #282 (permalink)  
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Do you suggest that every driver who breaks the RTA's or other RT legislation is prosecuted?
No, of course not.

Now would you answer the questions I asked you about the claims you made in a previous post on this topic. (Or at least admit your bluff has been called. )

I agree it’s extremely unlikely a policeman on an emergency would report a motorist who transgressed when moving out of his way. The problem is more likely to arise with traffic light cameras and camera speed traps.

It's all up above there. He pleaded guilty. That's his choice. …………………………. The rest is just fluff.
If the newspaper story is correct, then I disagree that it’s just ‘fluff.’
IMHO, the fact he pleaded guilty is only one aspect of the story - which reflects badly on the legal system from beginning to end.

His manoeuvre was captured by a traffic lights camera.
When he tried to explain the incident to the Scamera Partnership, he was told to argue it in court. That’s the sort of unhelpful response a number of people here have said they would expect to receive in that situation. I agree with them; I wouldn’t expect any better.

A spokesman for the partnership said: “There is a system in place for motorists who feel they have extenuating circumstances – they can opt to take their case to a court of law.” bjcc's assertion that they would investigate a driver's claim and not proceed against him if it was confirmed was, as I suggested earlier, utter nonsense.

Three court appearances?
For some relatively trivial offence? IMHO, it’s appalling that people are put to inconvenience and expense in that way.

The railway maintenance worker ended up with a £60 fine, a £35 bill for costs, three penalty points on his licence and £300 loss on wages for time spent on three court appearances. I doubt if he regarded 3 x loss of wages, plus a fine and costs (total £395) as ‘fluff’.

Once he pleads guilty, that's it.

It’s not. The appropriate penalty then has to be considered.
Unless he didn’t explain the circumstances (unlikely, since he felt strongly enough to attend court three times) then the penalty seems very harsh. I suppose the magistrates may have disbelieved him, assuming he was yet another lying motorist.

The man has gone away with a grave sense of injustice. If the facts are as reported, then I agree with him.
Mr Freeman said: “Motorists today just can't win.”
Many motorists who’ve come into contact with the legal system would agree with him.

IMHO those of us involved in the legal system, whether professionally or as JPs, should be concerned that members of the public feel this way - and ask ourselves why they do. For the overwhelming majority of people, it's the only contact they have with the legal system.

We should also be very concerned that people plead guilty to traffic offences when they don't consider they are guilty.


Last edited by Flying Lawyer; 4th Sep 2006 at 07:54.
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Old 4th Sep 2006, 08:29
  #283 (permalink)  
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Don't be silly Grainger. Where's a confession? Where's the duress?
I didn't realise that this was the semantics workshop, U_R.

You know perfectly well that I am referring to a plea of guilty made in response to the threat of increased penalty and huge legal fees.

Oh, and calling me "silly" doesn't make me silly.
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Old 4th Sep 2006, 08:50
  #284 (permalink)  
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Well said FL, put it better than I ever could. Three times in court is disgusting. One can only assume the magistrates were paralysed with fear as something unusual had presented itself and they didn't have a clue. Maybe they were hoping when it came back somebody else would be on the bench.
Originally Posted by Unwell_Raptor View Post
Once he pleads guilty, that's it.
Nope. No. Once the camera take the picture, that's it.
Originally Posted by Unwell_Raptor View Post
On the facts above I might have acquitted him, or at least given him a discharge.
You might have aquitted him? What the **** does that mean?

What might have caused you to dispense mercy? You know the 'facts above' so what else matters? Whether you got laid that morning? Whether you turned up to work pissed? Whether you were trying to impress the chief magistrate who you know didn't like motorists so you got a better position yourself? What the **** does might have acquitted mean when you know the facts of the case?
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Old 4th Sep 2006, 09:29
  #285 (permalink)  
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Better watch out, S_S:

U_R is in semantics mode today, so he'll probably pretend not to understand that "dispense mercy" refers to the phrase: "I might have acquitted him, or at least given him a discharge."

If you're lucky you might get a playground insult thrown in for good measure.
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Old 4th Sep 2006, 13:13
  #286 (permalink)  
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I stand by what I've posted in a previous thread, the system is unfair- there is little to be gained by common sense and reason. Therefore do what you need to- including telling porkies about who was driving etc. etc to get out of the fine. As for helping the fuzz out, by moving over for example, they can take a flying f*ck to themselves as far as I'm concerned.

Didn't used to be my attitude- but is now.
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Old 4th Sep 2006, 13:59
  #287 (permalink)  
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No, I've not worked in a dept that makes that decision. I base that assumption (because like your bold assetions thats what it is) on the fact that the papers are not bbulging with stories of people convicted in such circumstances.

Afterall, if those that have commoitted an offence and been fined can then moan about it, do you not think those who have a right to moan about a conviction would not do so.

Now, unless you have evidence to support your implication that the opposite applies?

Your quote :

"A spokesman for the partnership said: ďThere is a system in place for motorists who feel they have extenuating circumstances Ė they can opt to take their case to a court of law.Ē bjcc's assertion that they would investigate a driver's claim and not proceed against him if it was confirmed was, as I suggested earlier, utter nonsense"

Is based on what exactly? What evidence do you have to support that claim? One incident it appears, based on a quoted newspaper report. Oh, but then again, you have a habit of making your mind up from a newspaper reports alone don't you.

I would agree over your comments on concern about the legal system's part in this. For a start why did a Clerk "Tell" the defendent to plead guilty?
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Old 4th Sep 2006, 16:46
  #288 (permalink)  
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the papers are not bulging with stories of people convicted in such circumstances.
Maybe not, but here's another example of "one law for them": Crash PC wins driving ban appeal.

She killed someone, yet seems to have got a sympathetic hearing. Shame Mr Freeman (who harmed no-one) wasn't given the same benefit of the doubt.
The defence's mitigation was that [the victims] were crossing Grand Parade from behind parked cars and may have been distracted by another emergency vehicle going the other way.
But . . . moving safely out of the way to allow an emergency vehicle to pass is not a mitigating factor ?
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Old 4th Sep 2006, 17:45
  #289 (permalink)  
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In quoting that news report, what exactly is your point?

She was convicted. She was banned, and in spite of her appeal she is still disqualified. So how is that an example of one law for one, another for the public?

No one has said that moving out of the way of an emergency vhicle isn't mitigation. I believe it should be, and in most cases, unless it causes danger should be a defence.

It certainly isn't the issue that it has been portrayed by some. There have not been howls of protest in the press in connection with it, which you would expect.

I think you allagation that the chap apparently told to plead guilty is a confession taken under duress is not really a fair assessment, if it did indeed happen as he discribes, then it is very worrying and hardly shows the impariality of the court system.
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Old 4th Sep 2006, 18:50
  #290 (permalink)  
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Everything is safe till something goes wrong, at that speed you'll be luck to walk away, if it's a mechanical failure, tyre that sort of thing you could probably make it, if you hit something thatís it.
How many times must he be tried in court, I know Iíve driven as fast as my car would go, who hasnít?
Give him a break, he's been stiched up by the JOB!
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Old 4th Sep 2006, 20:29
  #291 (permalink)  
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She was convicted. She was banned, and in spite of her appeal she is still disqualified. So how is that an example of one law for one, another for the public?
Tell the whole story bjcc. The disqualification was reduced to just 8 months, most of which have already elapsed. For an incident in which she drove at 62 mph in a 30 limit and someone was killed.

Are you seriously suggesting that a civilian driver would be dealt with so leniently ? The treatment of someone who was trying to help the emergency services suggests otherwise.
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Old 4th Sep 2006, 20:52
  #292 (permalink)  
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You have a short memory.

We had the discussion on a previous post, her conviction is for careless driving, not for killing someone.

I don't know all the circumstances, although the Judge at the appeal did, and made his decision based on that.

Would a non police (Police officers are civillians) be treated the same? If you are asking my opinion, no, they wouldn't, I and a lot of other police officers, would suggest the sentences given to police officers are often heavier than non police for the same offence. Not always, just mostly.

I, and again most police would disagree with any member of the public being convicted for an offence where they tried to help an emergency vehicle though traffic. You are arguing for no good reason on that score, because I agree with you.

And if you read what U_R said on the subject, if he is representivive of DJ's then the judicial system is of the same opinion.

I don't see the connection between the 2 things though.
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Old 4th Sep 2006, 23:01
  #293 (permalink)  
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I know nothing about the case beyond what I've read in various press reports but, if they are correct, she does seem to have been lucky to get the disqualification period reduced.

If the prosecutor at the original trial is correctly quoted, she was even luckier not to be prosecuted for causing death by dangerous driving.
Extract from BBC report:
Peter Coombe, prosecuting, argued: "You were driving up to double the speed limit on a single carriageway road, and you were doing that as you were heading towards a busy part of the road.
"You did not adjust your speed appropriately. I suggest that the proof that you were going too fast is that you failed to see two pedestrians who had made their way two thirds of the way across the road before you did see them."

bjcc says he "and a lot of other police officers, would suggest the sentences given to police officers are often heavier than non police for the same offence. Not always, just mostly."
He and they may well suggest that but, in my experience prosecuting and defending police officers over the years, and the experience of other barristers in my chambers who defend police officers, it's not true. (We do a great deal of police defence work, more than any other chambers in the country.)

A policeman may, in certain circumstances, be punished more severely than a member of the public for what is in law "the same offence" but that is where on the facts it is a more serious because he has abused his power as a policeman to commit the offence. That is regarded as an aggravating feature, and rightly so for obvious reasons.

BTW, Unwell_Raptor is not a DJ (District Judge). He's a JP (lay magistrate.)
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Old 5th Sep 2006, 08:08
  #294 (permalink)  
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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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Old 5th Sep 2006, 08:30
  #295 (permalink)  
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brain fade,

I suspect the way minor offences were tried in the English courts has always been unfair to the defendent. In the days before cameras you needed to annoy a copper enough for him to haul you up in front of the beak, and the coppers were generally (not always mind you) a reasonable bunch. They provided a layer of security for the honest man who happened to break the speed limit.

They now use cameras which are so efficient, have zero discretion or ability to understand anything except raw speed, and which many suspect have gone from a safety based exercise to a money making exercise. That is the part that has changed. In both cases you would still be overwhelmingly likely to be found guilty by the magistrate, that part hasn't really changed much at all. It's just a lot easier now for honest people to be introduced to an inadequate part of the justice systemm, and they can see the system stinks.

In a lot of ways it's good that the man on the street can see the system is broken as that is the best way it can be changed. The solution, IMO, is to accept that magistrates are a throwback to a bygone age and should be disbanded (with a few MBEs if neccessary to keep them quiet). Replace them with jury trials as is done in the USA.

One gets summoned for jury service in the US every few years and it's always been a motoring case. Defendent gets to put his case to his true peers who don't have to worry about what others might think of their verdicts. Do you reckon a jury would convict somebody of speeding to let an ambulance by, even if technically breaking the law? Not one that I was on, no 'might' about it. It might cost a bit more, but that's what our taxes are for isn't it? If you get found guilty by your fellow peers selected by random then that has got to be better than being found guilty by somebody who is not even close to being representative of the population as a whole.

Last jury I was on acquitted somebody accused of drunk driving because the policeman did a piss poor job. Would a magistrate have come to the same conclusion? Who knows, all I know is we didn't, as we wanted to send a message to the cops that they needed to do a better job in future. Not sure a magistrate would have the balls to make that sort of statement, what would 'his' peers think?
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Old 5th Sep 2006, 09:00
  #296 (permalink)  
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Agree 100%. For justice to work it has to be seen as fair. If folk think they're being screwed then they won't 'buy in' to the system. That is how I feel about it anyway. My view of the Police has changed although I acknowledge they are not the sole cause of the problem. It IS the cops tho' who chase you for the confession and generally are a pain in the ass to deal with.
I've gone from having admiration and respect for a Police force that I felt I could count on- to indifference or contempt for a bunch of lazy f*ckers who spend half their day pissing on folk who are just like themselves in almost every regard, when they could be out catching crooks. Lets face it- everyone speeds! It's only a question of degree. So the same cop who lectures you about the anti-social menace you've become -by doing 35mph in a '30'- probably does the same or worse himself on his way home.
As for doing 159- or worse, 90 in a 30 or whatever it was- Aaaach!
Sanctimonious hypocrites the lot of 'em.
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Old 19th Sep 2006, 13:21
  #297 (permalink)  
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Brain Fade: to tar all police as "lazy f*ckers" is appalling. There are over 120,000 police officers in the UK, many of whom put their lives on the line dealing with the most dangerous people in society. Every year there are officers who are killed in the line of duty, serving the public so lets not forget the extra-ordinary sacrifice that some ordinary men and women make.

And for what? Respect? Perks? Big salaries? Decent working conditions?
None of the above!!

No pay rise this year - 2.2% on offer - below the rate of inflation which amounts to a reduction in pay. Do not forget that the police do not have the right to take any industrial action such as work to rule or strike. The majority do it because they are committed to providing a good public service. They are not superhuman - they are just members of the public doing a tough job under pressure. Like any job, people make mistakes as a result of pressure. We don't need to have a chapter and verse debate on what consitutes pressure - but there aren't many jobs where being over firm with a violent offender could land you in clink!!

Not everyone speeds, however if a police officer gets convicted of an offence such as speeding, they not only get at least the same (if not greater) civil punishment, PLUS a disciplinary hearing from their force, often resulting in an additional fine. Double whammy!!

We don't live in a pick and mix society where we decide which laws to obey and which to break - speeding is an absolute offence whether Brain Fade likes it or not! If you want the speed limit increasing, lobby your MP, local councillors etc. But I would expect there to be a degree of opposition by the local road safety campaigners.

Police should only break the speed limit for operational neccessity -ie: blue lights / sirens on to facilitate a faster emergency response to the public. If they break the law they should be called upon to justify their actions and face the consequences just the same as any other member of society.

As for the accusation of sanctimonious hypocricy, that works both ways - you can't call for the PC who did 159 mph to be prosecuted and not expect to get fined yourself for doing 36 in a 30 zone; an offence is an offence after all.

This just demonstrates that there is not a "one law for one and one for the other" situation going on. If there is any doubt about this, use the powers under the freedom of information act to contact your local police and ask for figures relating to the amount of cops (a) issued a notice of intended prosecution for speeding, (b) how many were actually convicted at court, and (c) how many faced a subsequent internal disciplinary hearing with sanctions. You will have a response in 20 days and I suspect that the figures will show little variance.

Lets concentrate on the facts here and not be sucked into a media run moral-panic over how appalling the police are...

Yes the PC was convicted of speeding, but the lenient sanction imposed upon him was the decision of the independant judiciary, the foundation of the British judicial system.
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Old 22nd Sep 2006, 19:09
  #298 (permalink)  
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105mph police officer escapes ban

By Keighley News reporter

A POLICE officer found himself on the wrong side of the law this week when he appeared before Skipton Magistrates for speeding.
Matthew Lucas Troake, 27, appeared in court in uniform on Wednesday after admitting driving his Audi TT cabriolet 45mph over the legal speed limit on one of Britain's worst roads. Troake was off-duty when he drove at 105mph on the A65 Settle by-pass, towards Skipton, on April 16.
Police officers in an unmarked police car stopped him after clocking up the speed while he was overtaking. Troake said he had been overtaking a driver who was on a mobile phone and driving erratically.
Magistrates were told the policeman, of Green Lane, Oakworth, was part of Wakefield's operational support unit, and could be called out at any time of day.
His lawyer said he would no longer be able to continue in the unit if he was disqualified and would have to work in a different police department.
The court was also told Troake was an advanced driver who had been a response driver for four years.
She added her client was particularly remorseful and shameful of his actions because he takes his job seriously and is held in high esteem.
Magistrates said Troake had expressed remorse and fined him £250. He was given six penalty points and will also pay £45 court costs.

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Old 23rd Sep 2006, 10:09
  #299 (permalink)  
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Brass Monkey

So it's NOT one rule for all, is it? You or I would have been banned!

I was listening to the radio yesterday as a woman described how her husband was stabbed in the neck by thugs. The police said they weren't going to attend- and didn't.
Same thugs shot her chap a month or so later, and killed him.

Perhaps some of the cops busy chasing motorists that day could have helped.

I say again, and you ought to listen, my respect for the cops has gone.

I am not alone, there must be shedloads who feel the same way.

It is because of the persecution of motorists that I feel that way and perleeeease don't give me any more old pish about how speeding is an absolute offence.

You speed yourself, you bleedin hypocrite or are you saying you don't?

Last edited by brain fade; 23rd Sep 2006 at 13:22.
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Old 23rd Sep 2006, 14:48
  #300 (permalink)  
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Memo to all the policemen, in whatever country, reading this thread......

Doesn't it worry you that the respect of the, by and large, law-abiding "respectable" members of the community have, over the past decade or so, lost an enormous amount of respect for the dangerous and admirable job that you generally do? Have you ever asked yourself why this is? Have you ever wondered if a member of the public would, in this day and age, support you in an emergency, or given evidence to put some crim away, still do so? Do you not have a concern that most folk are getting really pissed off that they seem to be copping the brunt of "law and order" when the obviously real crims seem to walking away with nothing more than a slapped wrist?

If you haven't wondered about those things then you really, really, really ought to be. Politicians set the rules, Chief Constables promulgate them but the coppers on the beat (is there still such a thing?) administer them. Therefore the individual copper can make a change - or are you too afraid of diminishing your chances on the corporate ladder?
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