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Anyone here a barrister or magistrate?

Community Veteran
Posts: 1,236
Registered: 02-08-2007

Anyone here a barrister or magistrate?

I am going to give a breif history of my case. In Janurary this year I was working as a Sky installer driving a company van. I turned right out of a lane onto a main road. There was a car comming from the right some distance off. After I turned onto the road the car went past me and that was that. The next day I got a phonecall from the police saying that this car had crashed while trying to avoid me. I went and made my statement. I did not think any more of it as it was just my word against the driver of ther car with no marks on the road and no other cars on the road at the time.
A few months later I got a summons and in it there was a statement from the driver of a third vehicle which is not mentioned in any of the other statements. I contacted my solicitor straight away and we both decided to contest the charge (careless driving) as many aspects of this third statement didn't read right (because he was not there!).
On the day I went to court the barrister threatened me with 10 popints if I did not plead guilty. He said I didn't stand a chance cos I am only 27 and the two men are middle aged.
Despite having a completely clean licence since I was 17 (10 years) the magistrate very kindly gave me 4 points and a £350 fine (which I cannot afford).
I have 2 questions:
How can I get this overturned? I know I pleaded guilty but that was due to being threatened with 10 points!
My surname is spelled wrong at every stage of this including the summons. (Different from my birth certificate, passport and driving license. This was a police mistake at the very start which I only recently noticed.)
Does this mean it is not really me and I do not have to pay the fine and the points cannot go on my license?
10 REPLIES
Community Veteran
Posts: 4,729
Registered: 04-04-2007

Re: Anyone here a barrister or magistrate?

You could try asking on uk.legal.moderated on usenet.
But remember that anyone can replay, including amateur self appointed lawyers.
Chilly
VileReynard
Seasoned Pro
Posts: 10,580
Thanks: 191
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Registered: 01-09-2007

Re: Anyone here a barrister or magistrate?

If you plead guilty, you are sentenced and you get no chance to put your side of the case.
If that barrister was so sure he would win, why did he suggest you plead guilty and escape with a lighter penalty?
I know nothing about law - but I would suggest that the damage is done, if you had pleaded not guilty, you could have argued about points of law etc...
Sad to say, you will have been fined more than £350 - as you will  find when you renew your insurance. You could try asking your local Citizens Advice Bureau - who do have access to solicitors.

Community Veteran
Posts: 4,729
Registered: 04-04-2007

Re: Anyone here a barrister or magistrate?

Also many solicitors will give 1/2 hour free advice, in the hope that they get case if there is one. But try to find one that specialises in the correct aspect of the law.
Chilly
VileReynard
Seasoned Pro
Posts: 10,580
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Registered: 01-09-2007

Re: Anyone here a barrister or magistrate?

Although you were unjustly treated, think twice before spending any substantial amount of money. It's very easy to waste money on legal matters.
You could also contact the clerk of the court (or something like that) to ask if you could pay your fine in instalments - they will do some means testing to check if you qualify.

Community Veteran
Posts: 1,236
Registered: 02-08-2007

Re: Anyone here a barrister or magistrate?

I have been convicted of a driving offence that I did not commit. I am not about to lie down and take that, would you?
I will spend whatever amount of money necessary to clear my driving license. When I eventually get my name cleared I will be able to claim back this money and possibly even compensation for the inconvience. I have been in contact with a solicitor since I last posted about the court/police error with the spelling of my name and he has given me hope. He has also spotted a descrepency with the date that the police woman said I made my statement. Basically her statement says that I made a statement on the 19th Jan 2007 when it was actually the 17th Jan 2007.
cp:blue Full quote of preceding post removed. mod:end
VileReynard
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Re: Anyone here a barrister or magistrate?

Quote from: seanbranagh
I have been convicted of a driving offence that I did not commit. I am not about to lie down and take that, would you?
I will spend whatever amount of money necessary to clear my driving license. When I eventually get my name cleared I will be able to claim back this money and possibly even compensation for the inconvience...

Oh dear...
I hope you are prepared to take out a second mortgage (assuming you have a first one!).
Courts are places for apportioning blame - they are not about fairness, justice etc. It sounds like you are about to commit a lot of money against a possibly unlikely outcome.
Your mistake was to plead guilty. Having done so you should accept the consequences. It's obvious that you were unrepresented in court - barristers do not operate in magistrates courts and you don't mention asking to have your case referred to a crown court.
The whole thing is now a gamble. You have had your chance to argue your case relatively cheaply - even if you had lost, it's not certain that you would have to pay the prosecution's costs.

Community Veteran
Posts: 1,100
Registered: 05-04-2007

Re: Anyone here a barrister or magistrate?

Quote from: seanbranagh
I have been convicted of a driving offence that I did not commit. I am not about to lie down and take that, would you?

From a completely none lawyer / legal professional standpoint I would say you were only were convicted because you ADMITTED to breaking the law. I guess your only defense now is to prove that you were forced into making the guilty plea. The reason I say defense, is that  you admitted guilt when actually innocent, which is lying to the court.
Community Veteran
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Registered: 01-08-2007

Re: Anyone here a barrister or magistrate?

Sean
You say you will spend any amount to clear your name, yet you say you cannot afford £350 fine? (despite your extremely extensive network!).
My advice would be to join www.pepipoo.com They have a forum for issues like this (and others like speeding etc).
I was flashed by a Gatso speed camera in January doing 28MPH in a 30 limit. I was on the edge of my seat as I had only passed my test on the 10th of that month and I knew any court would just see me as a young man (25) who was probably driving fast (even though I wasn't and don't!). Anyway, I joined pepipoo.com's forum and they were very helpful. In the end, nothing came of it - No NIP, no police threats nothing. It must of been the car behind (which did approach very fast) but at the time I was McCrappin it.
Try them out, they do give some very good advice in unusual cases like this where there are discreprencies.
I need a new signature... i'm bored of the old one!
N/A

Re: Anyone here a barrister or magistrate?

Sean - you can apply to the Magistrates Court to have the case re-opened but I wouldn't hold out too much hope as you have already pleaded guilty.  It is at the discretion of the Clerk and  you would have to demonstrate good reasons for them to agree to re-open the case. 
Alternatively, you can appeal to the Crown Court against conviction or sentence.  I am not sure what the time frame is for appeals. 
In either case you would be well advised to seek legal advice as it would increase your chances markedly.  Very few people have the skills and knowledge required to represent themselves, particularly if you choose the latter option (appeal to Crown Court).
BTW, in certain circumstances (although not frequently) barristers do sometimes work/represent clients in the  Magistrates Courts.
N/A

Re: Anyone here a barrister or magistrate?

Just an addendum about the fine: This can be looked at again by the magistrates if you have had a change of circumstances since the fine was imposed e.g. lost your job or had to take a reduction in salary.  You should have been given a discount of up to a third for an early guilty plea so it would be worth asking what it would have been had you not pleaded guilty at the earliest opportunity.  As mentioned before, and as you probably know, fines can be paid by instalments although they are actually due at imposition. The minimum payment is £5 per week but the fine has to be paid within one year so in your case it would need to be higher than this. Non-payment of fines can involve a lot of problems nowadays due to the Collection Order which is made on them so it is best to get it out of the way ASAP.
With regards to the name problem it is your responsibility to sort this out and inform all relevant authorities.