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PostPosted: Sat Oct 27, 2007 16:07 
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SafeSpeed wrote:
Do they? On what basis? It doesn't say that in the statute.
Neither does it say that an ordinary car becomes an ambulance if carrying a sick person.

Such cases hinge on a small range of facts.
Whether the driver had reasonable cause to believe it was an an emergency.
Whether there was a reasonable alternative to speeding, calling an ambulance for example.
Whether the speeding, and any potential risk to the public, was proportionate to the level of emergency.

Those things, if established, would normally lead to either a not guilty verdict or a decision not to endorse.
With no need to get in to a legal argument about what constitutes an ambulance.


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PostPosted: Sat Oct 27, 2007 16:18 
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Thatsnews wrote:
But Fisherman, if there is an option to enter a guilty plea AND enter evidence in mitigation by post, for you to claim that he "didn't bother to turn up" is a little disingenuous, surely?

The OP stated that he entered a plea of guilty. The court accepted that plea.
The OP stated that he didn't attend, thus depriving the bench of the opportunity to ask for clarification.


Thatsnews wrote:
After all, if magistrates ignore the plea of mitigation by post, why would they feel able to accept a plea of guilty by post in the same letter?
How do you know they ignored his mitigation? Mitigation is not a defence and may serve to reduce a penalty, but not to avoid one.


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PostPosted: Sat Oct 27, 2007 16:31 
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SafeSpeed wrote:
Do they? On what basis? It doesn't say that in the statute.

I knew there was a defintion of ambulance somewhere.

Quote:
Vehicle Excise and Registration Act 1994, Schedule 2
6. — (1) An ambulance is an exempt vehicle.
(2) In sub-paragraph (1) “ambulance” means a vehicle which—
(a)
is constructed or adapted for, and used for no purpose other than, the carriage of sick, injured or disabled people to or from welfare centres or places where medical or dental treatment is given, and
(b)
is readily identifiable as a vehicle used for the carriage of such people by being marked “Ambulance” on both sides.


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PostPosted: Sat Oct 27, 2007 16:35 
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Thatsnews wrote:
And taking a mother and unborn child (early labour, caesarian birth booked) is not an emergency.

The midwife in this case, who unlike you was in full possession of the facts, didn't think so.
But please don't let the truth stand in the way of your highly inventive scenarios.


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PostPosted: Sat Oct 27, 2007 17:18 
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Without getting into the guilty/not guilty argument.

Depending on the time of day and the type of area sending an ambulance may not have been the quickest way to hospital.

I used to live about 15 minutes drive from the local A&E but an ambulance would've had to come over 30 minutes drive. In the OP's situation complications could have set in prior to the ambulance arriving.

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 Post subject: EDIT TO FIX ERROR
PostPosted: Sat Oct 27, 2007 17:20 
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fisherman wrote:
SafeSpeed wrote:
Do they? On what basis? It doesn't say that in the statute.

I knew there was a defintion of ambulance somewhere.

Quote:
Vehicle Excise and Registration Act 1994, Schedule 2
6. — (1) An ambulance is an exempt vehicle.
(2) In sub-paragraph (1) “ambulance” means a vehicle which—
(a)
is constructed or adapted for, and used for no purpose other than, the carriage of sick, injured or disabled people to or from welfare centres or places where medical or dental treatment is given, and
(b)
is readily identifiable as a vehicle used for the carriage of such people by being marked “Ambulance” on both sides.


Yes, but that is only for VAT purposes.NO WRONG!

For Vehicle Excise purposes! Not VAT! :doh:

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Last edited by Thatsnews on Sun Oct 28, 2007 00:04, edited 2 times in total.

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sat Oct 27, 2007 17:23 
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fisherman wrote:
Thatsnews wrote:
And taking a mother and unborn child (early labour, caesarian birth booked) is not an emergency.

The midwife in this case, who unlike you was in full possession of the facts, didn't think so.
But please don't let the truth stand in the way of your highly inventive scenarios.


And how, exactly, do you know what the midwife was thinking?

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sat Oct 27, 2007 17:53 
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R1Nut wrote:
Depending on the time of day and the type of area sending an ambulance may not have been the quickest way to hospital.
I am sure you are right, which is one reason why the defence of emergency exists and why courts look at what the driver reasonably believed to be the situation. He doesn't have to be right, just to have reason to believe as he did.

In this case (judging by what little information we have) he had a good case, but for some reason known only to himself decided to plead guilty and not go to court to answer any questions that may have been necessary for clarification.


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PostPosted: Sat Oct 27, 2007 17:59 
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fisherman wrote:
In this case (judging by what little information we have) he had a good case, but for some reason known only to himself decided to plead guilty and not go to court to answer any questions that may have been necessary for clarification.

I imagine many people when confronted with this kind of situation for the first time do not appreciate that speeding is a strict liability offence, and therefore making a plea of mitigation is of limited benefit - as you have pointed out, you have to actually plead not guilty using emergency as a defence.

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sat Oct 27, 2007 18:01 
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Thatsnews wrote:
Yes, but that is only for VAT purposes.
The act refers to vehicle excise duty (VED) in other words road tax.

A definition of anything, in any any act, is valid for all england and wales legal purposes unless another act contains its own definition of the same thing.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sat Oct 27, 2007 18:05 
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Thatsnews wrote:
And how, exactly, do you know what the midwife was thinking?
The OP tells us that the midwife, after getting the relevant details from him, told him to "come in straight away".

He does not say that she told him it was an emergency, he does not say that she told him to ignore the speed limit.

It is apparent that she did not call an ambulance. Which is standard practice for emergencies.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sat Oct 27, 2007 18:18 
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fisherman wrote:
Thatsnews wrote:
And how, exactly, do you know what the midwife was thinking?
The OP tells us that the midwife, after getting the relevant details from him, told him to "come in straight away".

He does not say that she told him it was an emergency, he does not say that she told him to ignore the speed limit.

It is apparent that she did not call an ambulance. Which is standard practice for emergencies.


But come in straight away means exactly that. To a member of the public.

To speculate, perhaps the midwife knew he had a car and knew it would be quicker for him to bring her in rather than wait for an ambulance?

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sat Oct 27, 2007 18:20 
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PeterE wrote:
I imagine many people when confronted with this kind of situation for the first time do not appreciate that speeding is a strict liability offence, and therefore making a plea of mitigation is of limited benefit - as you have pointed out, you have to actually plead not guilty using emergency as a defence.


You have two choices. Plead not guilty and put foward the emergency as a defence. Or plead guilty and ask for the emergency to be considered as a special reason to not endorse your licence.
The nuances between the two are somewhat complex and depend on the individual circumstances.

Courts are aware of the lack of knowledge of many drivers and are on the lookout for cases such as this one. When dealing with postal cases it is common for the clerk to ask the bench to summon a driver to attend if it seems that he or she has put forward mitigation which may amount to a defence. The bench can - and does - find special reasons not to endorse in cases like this one, but would normally ask the driver to attend and confirm the information on oath.
Often we ask for medical confirmation, although personally I don't bother unless the speed is really excessive or there are allegations of a manner of driving which posed a risk to the public - tailgating, risky overtaking, intimidationof other drivers etc.


I don't know why they didn't do so in this case, but if the OP told them that he had spoken to the midwife who clearly didn't consider the matter urgent then, unless he gave evidence of a change for the worse after that time, that would probably have been enough for the bench to conclude there was no emergency. I would still expect them to minimise the fine as the driver had shown that he had exceeded the limit in unusual circumstances.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sat Oct 27, 2007 18:33 
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Thatsnews wrote:
But come in straight away means exactly that. To a member of the public.

I would think it means the same to everybody. No unnecessary delay - don't visit granny on the way, don't stop at the pub to tell your mates but no need to call an ambulance or send the emergency maternity team.


Thatsnews wrote:
To speculate, perhaps the midwife knew he had a car and knew it would be quicker for him to bring her in rather than wait for an ambulance?
If so I would expect the midwife to have told him in VERY clear terms to drive slowly and carefully, as a crash and/or shaking up his wife by high speed manouvers could be detrimental to her health.

The very small amount of obs & gynae training I did was many years ago, but it was standard practice at that time to issue such warnings after a crash in which a pregnant woman was killed and the hospital blamed for failing to issue a warning.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sat Oct 27, 2007 20:06 
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fisherman wrote:
malcolmw wrote:
IMO there is an exemption from the speed limits for vehicles being used as ambulances.
Courts normally consider that to apply to a vehicle specifically constructed for use an an ambulance and being used to convey a sick person.

[...]


fisherman wrote:
SafeSpeed wrote:
Do they? On what basis? It doesn't say that in the statute.
Neither does it say that an ordinary car becomes an ambulance if carrying a sick person.

Such cases hinge on a small range of facts.
Whether the driver had reasonable cause to believe it was an an emergency.
Whether there was a reasonable alternative to speeding, calling an ambulance for example.
Whether the speeding, and any potential risk to the public, was proportionate to the level of emergency.

Those things, if established, would normally lead to either a not guilty verdict or a decision not to endorse.
With no need to get in to a legal argument about what constitutes an ambulance.


The law wrote:
No statutory provision imposing a speed limit on motor vehicles shall apply to any vehicle on an occasion when it is being used for fire brigade, ambulance or police purposes, if the observance of that provision would be likely to hinder the use of the vehicle for the purpose for which it is being used on that occasion.


I think you are, or have been, in a muddle over this. The law is clear as crystal. The exemption CLEARLY applies in any case of medical urgency for any vehicle.

When you said: "Courts normally consider that to apply to a vehicle specifically constructed for use an an ambulance and being used to convey a sick person" either you or the courts are wrong in law.

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sat Oct 27, 2007 21:01 
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SafeSpeed wrote:
fisherman wrote:
malcolmw wrote:
IMO there is an exemption from the speed limits for vehicles being used as ambulances.
Courts normally consider that to apply to a vehicle specifically constructed for use an an ambulance and being used to convey a sick person.

[...]


fisherman wrote:
SafeSpeed wrote:
Do they? On what basis? It doesn't say that in the statute.
Neither does it say that an ordinary car becomes an ambulance if carrying a sick person.

Such cases hinge on a small range of facts.
Whether the driver had reasonable cause to believe it was an an emergency.
Whether there was a reasonable alternative to speeding, calling an ambulance for example.
Whether the speeding, and any potential risk to the public, was proportionate to the level of emergency.

Those things, if established, would normally lead to either a not guilty verdict or a decision not to endorse.
With no need to get in to a legal argument about what constitutes an ambulance.


The law wrote:
No statutory provision imposing a speed limit on motor vehicles shall apply to any vehicle on an occasion when it is being used for fire brigade, ambulance or police purposes, if the observance of that provision would be likely to hinder the use of the vehicle for the purpose for which it is being used on that occasion.


I think you are, or have been, in a muddle over this. The law is clear as crystal. The exemption CLEARLY applies in any case of medical urgency for any vehicle.

When you said: "Courts normally consider that to apply to a vehicle specifically constructed for use an an ambulance and being used to convey a sick person" either you or the courts are wrong in law.


Yes! And if the court saw the "guilty" plea and the plea in mitigation (based on the defence of necessity) I believe that the magistrates were probably wrong to accept the plea of guilty!

Any way... if someone pleads guilty and the evidence clearly shows they are not guilty, do the magistrates have to accept that plea? Or can they either ignore it or have the case adjourned and write to the defendant stating why they have done it and advising him to appear in person?

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sat Oct 27, 2007 21:27 
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And fishermans interpretation of the law, would exclude paramedic instant response motorbikes and cars, as they don't carry patients, but I believe they meet the criteria of Ambulance 'purposes'.

Merseyside Fire and Rescue Service have a liveried blue light motorbike. I believe an earliest report to control of what type and how many applliances are required would come under Fire 'Purposes'

I have a close friend who is an FME, his attendance a Police Stations has very occasionally saved a life, i.e. blue light ambulance called to the Custody Suite to take 'prisoner' to Hospital. He's again (once IIRC) attended 'deaths' only to find signs of life :shock: . His tardy attendance could have led to catastrophic consequences, hence he drives as he thinks conditions allow, safe but swift.

My belief is, under both Police and probably Ambulance 'purposes' he has exemption.

The OP was carrying out the most basic 'purpose' of an ambulance i.e. taking a patient to hospital.

I reckon the mistake made was to place the importance of a work commitment above attending Court in person.

To appeal the sentence would probably cost more than any reduction in fine, I don't believe an appeal could reduce the points, as 'special reason' could not be used as S.87 amounts to a defence and special reason cannot apply if the 'reason' would/could be a defence.

After a Guilty plea, I don't think a reopening is possible without massive hassle, expense and good luck,
I don't know so this is a guess but maybe Judicial Review.

It depends how much value the OP values the scrubbing of 3 points.

With a young family, I regret to say, that this one should go down to experience.

Any reader in a similar position, should plead not guilty and go to trial, if found guilty, then plead 'special reason', as if found guilty the defence case presented was not a 'defence', but could be a 'special reason'

IMHO

fatboytim


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PostPosted: Sat Oct 27, 2007 21:32 
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The op could win a greater value than £100 and 3 points by creating case law at crown court level if he wins.

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PostPosted: Sat Oct 27, 2007 23:10 
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anton wrote:
The op could win a greater value than £100 and 3 points by creating case law at crown court level if he wins.


I'm afraid the law in question now has limited life.

The (so-called) Road Safety Act 2006 contains a replacement section which demands training, qualification, approval and god-knows-what.

It requires an SI to bring it into force.

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PostPosted: Sun Oct 28, 2007 03:34 
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Oh dear, lack of legal training shining through once again.

Strict liability requires purely an actus reus, either someone is exceeding the speed limit or not. Emergency circumstances would never be a defence of this, since they would still be speeding, it would always be a mitigation/special reason.

fisherman wrote:
RobinXe wrote:
You always have the option, with magistrates courts, to appeal to a higher court, where your case can be presented to a jury of your peers, who are, ideally, in possession of the common sense so obviously lacking in the majority of the lowest courts.


Appeal from magistrates courts to the Crown Court are heard by a bench of one crown court judge sitting with one or two JPs. No jury is involved.


You always have the right to a trial by a jury of your peers. Legal training?


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