In the month of October, Mr Hojol Uddin attended Blackburn Magistrates Court and represented a client who had allegedly failed to identify the driver of a vehicle, also known as failing to furnish information under s172 of the Road Traffic Act 1988.
This offence is committed when the “keeper” of a vehicle or “any other person” is requested to provide information as to the identity of the driver following an alleged commission of an offence by the driver of the vehicle. These requests are most often made when offences are detected by fixed cameras (gatso, trucelo, Speedcurb, peek, SPECS, mobile LTI 20/20 cameras etc.) where the identity of the driver is not identified at the scene of the offence.
If following a request a person fails to identify the driver or give any information which might assist in the identification of the driver, they are guilty of the offence and upon conviction will be liable to a fine of up to £1,000 and the obligatory endorsement of 6 points on their driving licence.
There are a number of defences which are available to this offence and these include:
• the keeper “did not know and could not with reasonable diligence identify who the driver was”;
• any other person “provided all information which it was in their power to give”;
• a response was sent to the request providing the required information; or
• it was not “reasonably practicable” to provide a response, for instance if no request was received e.g. problems with post.
In this case, Senior Solicitor Mr Hojol Uddin identified that the client who was the registered keeper of the vehicle at the time of the offence had sent a response to the central ticket office identifying the driver of the vehicle. A not guilty plea was therefore entered and the case went off for trial.
At trial, Mr Uddin presented this defence and persuaded the court that on a “balance of probabilities” the court could accept that our client had sent a response and therefore had committed no offence. Our Client was therefore acquitted (found not guilty) and was also awarded a defendant costs order, which will now allow us to recover his legal costs for him.
Our advice to anyone who has received a notice of intended prosecution when sending it back to the central ticket office is to keep a photocopy and ensure that you obtain a certificate of posting. Unfortunately, post does go missing and you do not want to be summonsed to court when it is no fault of your own. The prosecution will allege that you did not send it back but with a photocopy of the notice and a certificate of posting they will find it extremely difficult to convict you in court.
Hojol Uddin, Senior Solicitor