A tale... what goes around... by raistlin


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raistlin
Haven't done one of these for a while. Anybody still interested in the ramblings from "The Bench"?

It's about time the boy racers and other sundry clowns on the road took account of technology. Dash cams are really rather helpful.

I was to chair a trial today of a 22 year old accused of driving whilst disqualified, dangerous driving and sundry other motoring offences.

At the start of the trial, his advocate stood up and asked for the offences to be put to the defendant again, at which point he pleaded guilty. We then became a sentencing Court and at that point found we were also sentencing the defendant for identical offences on a previous occasion for which he had stood trial and been found guilty. In fact, the offences we were originally to have dealt with were committed whilst the defendant was on bail for the first set of offences. Are you getting the picture?

The prosecutor stood up and asked if the witnesses could be released and we invited them in to the Court so we could thank them personally. One witness, a man of middle age, was having none of it though and asked if he could stay to observe the sentencing which, of course he was perfectly at liberty to do. His was to have been the CPS evidence in the case were were supposed to have dealt with at trial.

The prosecutor explained that the witness's car had been equipped with front and rear mounted cameras and we agreed to view the video to guide us toward a suitable sentence. No point in going through the videos at length except to say that, after one particularly dangerous manoeuvre, the defendant felt it necessary to put his right hand out of the window with his middle finger extended in the time honoured "one finger salute". This fact will be significant later in my tale.

Normally, a Bench would not sentence to immediate custody without the benefit of a pre-sentence report but in this case, the defendant already had two previous convictions for drive whilst disqualified and dangerous driving and had served a short prison term on the last occasion.

We were satisfied that justice would be served by an immediate prison sentence and we sent him away for 12 months in total, along with a ten year disqualification pending passing an extended driving test. We further issued a forfeiture and destruction order for the car, a rather tidy Audi A4 worth in the region of £5K to £6K.

In pronouncing sentence, the Bench Chairman indicates to the dock officers that sentencing is complete by saying "Take him down" and, as I said these words I couldn't help but notice the previously mentioned witness, stony faced, arms crossed and staring fixedly at the defendant and, if I didn't know better, I'd have sworn that the middle finger of his right hand was extended, albeit briefly, towards the defendant.
Paul

Cogito ergo sum... maybe?

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Posted 31 Jan 2017, 19:25 #1 


PaulT
Paul, I for one am interested in your postings - an inner view.

Occasionally watch the various real life police programmes. Amazing that some people are cought time and time again for the same type of offence.

What is involved in an extended driving test?.....presumably, within the 10 year ban period you will be seeing this chap a few times.
Paul

That apart Mrs Lincoln, did you enjoy the play

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Posted 31 Jan 2017, 20:34 #2 

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humphshumphs
Always love reading them. Please keep giving us little insights :-D
Richard

Posted 31 Jan 2017, 21:44 #3 

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raistlin
Not exactly sure what is involved in the extended driving test Paul. I do know that it is considerably more difficult than the standard test though.

I expect this particular individual will go on to a higher level of dangerous driving and will end up in Crown Court where a hefty sentence will follow. Unfortunately, it might leap-frog from dangerous driving to death by dangerous driving.
Paul

Cogito ergo sum... maybe?

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Posted 31 Jan 2017, 21:58 #4 

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Mick
(Site Admin)
Always find your posts interesting and entertaining.

Posted 31 Jan 2017, 22:32 #5 


PaulT
Paul, I could have done a little digging about the test.

The Northern Ireland government website states:

'What will happen

At the end of the disqualification period, if you wish to get back a full driving licence you’ll need to:

apply for a provisional driving licence and drive as a learner
pass a theory test for the category of vehicle in which you intend to take an extended practical driving test
pass the extended practical driving test
The practical driving test is longer and more demanding than the normal learner driving test. The test lasts for about 70 minutes and covers a wide variety of roads, including dual carriageways where possible.

Many candidates have found it beneficial to take some driving instruction in advance of the test.'


Interestingly, on the LCD Driving Academy website it states:

'As a disqualified driver you have to:

Apply for a NEW provisional driving licence
Take suitable driving instruction from an Approved Driving Instructor (ADI)
Pass the theory test
Pass the Extending Practical Driving Test'


Strange that a government website makes no mention of having to take instruction from an ADI!!!!

The actual test fee - double the normal fee.
Paul

That apart Mrs Lincoln, did you enjoy the play

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Posted 01 Feb 2017, 05:51 #6 

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MrDoodles
I do understand taking their car off them, but why just destroy it? :confused:

Why not send them to Auction with the proceeds going back into Court system, or are you really awash with cash, that you can afford to throw it away? :confused:
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Posted 01 Feb 2017, 09:20 #7 

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Colvert
I'm with Mr Doodles.

It makes no sense to destroy something of value. Change the plates maybe and sell it on.

Do some good with it. The car is blameless. Lol.

Posted 03 Feb 2017, 17:18 #8 


PaulT
What happens when the car is on finance and therefore the finance company owns the vehicle.
Paul

That apart Mrs Lincoln, did you enjoy the play

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Posted 04 Feb 2017, 15:58 #9 

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raistlin
PaulT wrote:What happens when the car is on finance and therefore the finance company owns the vehicle.


Ultimately, the Court has the power to seize the car Paul. However, before we make such a draconian direction we investigate the circumstances. Having said that, you wouldn't believe the number of cars involved in crime where the driver was "just borrowing" it.

Further, seizure of a car is only considered when a defendant has a history of crime involving vehicles and this generally points to a car which is unlikely to be the subject of a finance agreement. Like a lot of things, it's a judgment call by the Bench on the day.
Paul

Cogito ergo sum... maybe?

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Posted 05 Feb 2017, 17:21 #10 

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Trebor
Always a good (if not always pleasant) read Paul, interested in the admission as evidence of the DVR footage, I thought I had read somewhere that given the amount of cameras fitted to cars these days members of the public have been using them to send to the police to report dangerous driving incidents but they have been inundated and not taking any more, not sure which force it was.
Presumably a court of law would usually be happy to accept such evidence ? There are many chinese cheapo cameras around and the footage is not that great which might give the defence the chance to deny it was their client of course
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Posted 05 Feb 2017, 19:13 #11 


PaulT
Watching the various programmes where the police are filmed whilst doing their job I find it amazing the number of 'pool' cars there are where the cars are not registered to anyone- how can that be. When you sell a car it is the sellers responsibility to inform the DVLA of the change. Presumably, if the change is not notified no action is taken. Should it not be viewed that if the notification has not been made then they are still responsible for the car or is it a case that the DVLA lose items?
Paul

That apart Mrs Lincoln, did you enjoy the play

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Posted 05 Feb 2017, 22:02 #12 

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Duncan
Yes, but if the buyer gives false information, the seller wouldn't know.
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Posted 06 Feb 2017, 09:03 #13 

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raistlin
Trebor wrote:Always a good (if not always pleasant) read Paul, interested in the admission as evidence of the DVR footage, I thought I had read somewhere that given the amount of cameras fitted to cars these days members of the public have been using them to send to the police to report dangerous driving incidents but they have been inundated and not taking any more, not sure which force it was.
Presumably a court of law would usually be happy to accept such evidence ? There are many chinese cheapo cameras around and the footage is not that great which might give the defence the chance to deny it was their client of course


As it was in this case Rob, the video was used in sentencing, not a trial. However, it is at the discretion of the Bench regarding the weight given to any piece of evidence in iehter a trial or sentencing exercise.

In this case, the video was perfectly satisfactory. In fact, I suspect that it was the clarity of the rear view camera, showing the image of the defendant in high quality, which convinced him to change his plea to guilty.

As far as the Police are concerned, this was not the only evidence provided against the defendant. There were several other witnesses who were prepared to give evidence had the trial gone ahead. Where there is independant corroborating evidece, the chance of successful prosecution is much greater and therefore the investment in time and expertese easier to justify.
Paul

Cogito ergo sum... maybe?

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Posted 06 Feb 2017, 09:33 #14 


PaulT
Duncan wrote:Yes, but if the buyer gives false information, the seller wouldn't know.


Ah, that is why you should always insist on evidence of the buyer.
Paul

That apart Mrs Lincoln, did you enjoy the play

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Posted 06 Feb 2017, 15:21 #15 


Jumper
One wouldn’t want to stigmatise an offender by assuming only negatives, but it seems this one is undeterred by penalties
he has been ‘awarded’ in the past. Are lengthening prison sentences and/or increasing fines the only sanctions for habitual and incorrigible criminals? Not sure what I would suggest for this individual, but maybe a dose of right foot amputation would keep us all slightly safer. Humanely, of course.

To answer your opening question: I don’t know you keep sane having to deal with the sheer madness parading before you. Must have the patience of a saint. And an eternal confidence in the future of mankind, or at least some of it.

Posted 09 Feb 2017, 19:00 #16 

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Borg Warner
I am still interested in your "ramblings" Paul. Although a role I have often thought of undertaking, I wouldn't be able to maintain the same level of professionalism as your goodself.

Gary M.

Posted 21 Feb 2017, 09:55 #17 

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raistlin
Borg Warner wrote:I wouldn't be able to maintain the same level of professionalism as your goodself.

Gary M.


No reason wny not Gary
Paul

Cogito ergo sum... maybe?

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Posted 21 Feb 2017, 10:03 #18 


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