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PostPosted: Sun Oct 28, 2007 10:48 
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RobinXe wrote:
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.


Nope. Emergency need is a statutory defence in RTRA 1984 S87.

As per: http://www.safespeed.org.uk/forum/viewt ... 583#155583 (earlier in this thread).

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PostPosted: Sun Oct 28, 2007 14:42 
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Quote:
Nope. Emergency need is a statutory defence in RTRA 1984 S87.


Nope, S87 provides an exemption from speed limits for vehicles used for certain purposes. It makes no reference to emergencies so, for example, an unmarked CID car would still be able to claim exemption if following a target vehicle - S.87 does not set any requirements for blue lights, sirens etc.

Any Fire Service vehicle (appliance, staff car, BA van, station van etc.) will therefore be exempt IF AND ONLY IF abiding by the speed limit "would be likely to hinder the use of the vehicle for the purpose for which it is being used on that occasion". So appliance drivers have sometimes, quite properly, been 'done' for speeding on the way back to the station. Some brigades do not provide staff cars for their senior officers on call but instead issue magnetic blue lights - these cars are exempt as long as the 'hindrance' test is passed since they are being used for fire service purposes when attending incidents. A retained firefighter travelling to the station on a shout does not, however, have the exemptions and they always used to be reminded of this.

The Act does not make any distinction between statutory and other bodies, so the exemptions apply equally to non statutory fire services (we do still have a very few industrial fire brigades) and to e.g. St John Ambulance.

"Police, fire or ambulance purposes" within the meaning of that Act is interpreted as referring to the purposes of organisation on whose behalf the vehicle is being used. This being the case, the ambulance cars and motorbikes mentioned in an earlier posting are clearly covered by the exemption since they are used in pursuance of ambulance purposes, but the mere fact that a vehicle is being used to transport a person to a hospital does not mean that it is being used for ambulance purposes or, if it was, that those purposes would have been hindered. There are, if you like, two hurdles to be jumped:
1. Was the vehicle being used for ambulance purposes?
2. Would those purposes have been hindered by sticking to the speed limit?
Since the car which started all this discussion off was not driven or crewed by ambulance personnel or operating under the direction of an ambulance service in any way, trying to suggest a defence under S.87 or any other statute would be highly unlikely to succeed.

The defence which might be available is the Common Law one of "necessity" (these days more often thought of as "duress of circumstances") - for which the defendant would have to show that exceeding the speed limit was the lesser of two evils in the circumstances. On the information given I'm not at all sure that this would be successful and having once entered a guilty plea reopening the case may well be problematical - this might be more of a "fisherman" area!

Quote:
The op could win a greater value than £100 and 3 points by creating case law at crown court level if he wins.

Incidentally, a Crown Court case does not set a binding precedent - only decisions of the High Court / Divisional Courts (Queens Bench etc.) and above are binding on equivalent and lower courts. Although a lower court decision may be used persuasively, Crown, County and Magistrates' Courts decisions do not bind themselves, let alone any other court.

PS - Yes, I do happen to have a law degree, albeit rather rusty! :book:


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PostPosted: Sun Oct 28, 2007 16:33 
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SafeSpeed wrote:
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.
Not when you read the subsection of the Road safety Act 2006 which immediately follows the one you quote above.
The Law wrote:
19 (2)
Subsection (1) above does not apply unless the vehicle is being driven by a person who—
(a)
has satisfactorily completed a course of training in the driving of vehicles at high speed provided in accordance with regulations under this section, or
(b)
is driving the vehicle as part of such a course.




SafeSpeed wrote:
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.
I am happy to admit that, unless told otherwise, we assume that an ambulance is being driven by a suitably qualified person and that a private car is not.


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PostPosted: Sun Oct 28, 2007 16:36 
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Thatsnews wrote:
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?
No and yes, respectively.


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PostPosted: Sun Oct 28, 2007 16:42 
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fatboytim wrote:
My belief is, under both Police and probably Ambulance 'purposes' he has exemption.
Only if he is trained in response driving to a standard approved by the Secretary of State. see my earlier post for details.


fatboytim wrote:
I reckon the mistake made was to place the importance of a work commitment above attending Court in person.
Especially when all it would have taken was a phone call to get the date changed. Its hard to be sure without all the facts but I believe he would have escaped without penalty had he turned up. Its common for the CPS to drop cases of this kind, and even when they don't I have never seen a prosecutor press hard for a conviction.


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PostPosted: Sun Oct 28, 2007 16:53 
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RobinXe wrote:
You always have the right to a trial by a jury of your peers.
Quote:
the Supreme Court Act 1981 s74(1) On any hearing by the Crown Court—
(a) of any appeal; the Crown Court shall consist of a judge of the High Court or a Circuit judge or a Recorder who, subject to the following provisions of this section, shall sit with not less than two nor more than four justices of the peace.
which makes no mention of juries. The interpretation placed on that by the Lord Chief justice (among others ) is that it is not possible to have a jury trial for an appeal from a magistrates court to the crown court. And yes, he does have legal training.


RobinXe wrote:
Oh dear, lack of legal training shining through once again.
You said it :D


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PostPosted: Sun Oct 28, 2007 17:26 
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fisherman wrote:
RobinXe wrote:
Oh dear, lack of legal training shining through once again.
You said it :D


LLB, how about you?

It may not be on first appeal to the Crown Court, but you do have the right to a trial by the jury of your peers, insomuch as leave to appeal cannot be denied before a jury hearing.


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PostPosted: Sun Oct 28, 2007 19:22 
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fisherman wrote:
SafeSpeed wrote:
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.
Not when you read the subsection of the Road safety Act 2006 which immediately follows the one you quote above.
The Law wrote:
19 (2)
Subsection (1) above does not apply unless the vehicle is being driven by a person who—
(a)
has satisfactorily completed a course of training in the driving of vehicles at high speed provided in accordance with regulations under this section, or
(b)
is driving the vehicle as part of such a course.


That law has not been turned on yet. It requires an SI to detail a commencement date.

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PostPosted: Sun Oct 28, 2007 19:41 
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FB2000 wrote:
Quote:
Nope. Emergency need is a statutory defence in RTRA 1984 S87.


Nope, S87 provides an exemption from speed limits for vehicles used for certain purposes. It makes no reference to emergencies...


Agreed. The wording I chose was oversimplified.

FB2000 wrote:
"Police, fire or ambulance purposes" within the meaning of that Act is interpreted as referring to the purposes of organisation on whose behalf the vehicle is being used.


Is it? How do you know that? Or where are you getting it from?

The act clearly does not say 'used for the purposes of the recognised emergency services' or anything like it.

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PostPosted: Sun Oct 28, 2007 19:57 
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SafeSpeed wrote:
That law has not been turned on yet. It requires an SI to detail a commencement date.
Its alive and working in my area. It may be that we are piloting the introduction, I can't check without going to court. if that is the case my apologies for any misunderstanding.

In any event the exemption for ambulances needs there to be an emergency situation. Without that there is no exemption. With a genuine emergency a civilian can expect a special reasons finding in his favour.


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PostPosted: Sun Oct 28, 2007 20:07 
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RobinXe wrote:
LLB, how about you?
Within last 3 months appraised as competent to chair adult and youth courts. When was your last court appraisal?




RobinXe wrote:
You always have the right to a trial by a jury of your peers.

RobinXe wrote:
It may not be on first appeal to the Crown Court
Bold emphasis mine for clarity.
Bearing in mind this thread is discussing an appeal from a magistrates court, which of or your statements is correct?


RobinXe wrote:
, but you do have the right to a trial by the jury of your peers,
For either way hearings you can elect a jury trial. for indictable matters you have no choice other than a jury trial. For appeals from a magistrates court - which is the procedure under disscussion in this thread - you don't have the choice of a jury trial.


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PostPosted: Sun Oct 28, 2007 21:09 
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Sheesh, are you so hell-bent on disagreeing with me that you can't see the cross-purposes?

If one continues to appeal a conviction as far as possible then a jury trial is inevitable before the ultimate conclusion. Is that clearer? The always pertained to every prosecution, not every hearing.

I was under the impression that the OP had already appealed once.


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PostPosted: Mon Oct 29, 2007 01:14 
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fisherman wrote:
SafeSpeed wrote:
That law has not been turned on yet. It requires an SI to detail a commencement date.
Its alive and working in my area. It may be that we are piloting the introduction, I can't check without going to court. if that is the case my apologies for any misunderstanding.


Really? Can you check please?

That sounds most odd. It's possible that they have snuck the commencement SI under our radar. Without that I don't see how it could be 'working'.

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PostPosted: Mon Oct 29, 2007 02:52 
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These cases rarely came to court, did they? Because a police traffic officer would have spotted the speeding car, pulled him over, ascertained the problem, and then given the car an escort to the hospital using blues and twos.

Of course, a speed camera and a box ticker at the Partnership can't do that, can they?

Oh, yes, they can enforce the law, but the dispensing of justice seems to have gone out of the window...

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PostPosted: Tue Oct 30, 2007 10:01 
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SafeSpeed wrote:
Really? Can you check please?

That sounds most odd. It's possible that they have snuck the commencement SI under our radar. Without that I don't see how it could be 'working'.


It is fairly standard pratice for new stuff to be piloted in small areas before going nationwide. How that is done from the implementation point of view I don't know. I will try to check next time I am in court, but as that will be my last sitting as a JP I may not get the chance.
Tradition for last sittings dictates that I will get dozens of requests for warrants, applications to vacate or re-open cases and all sorts of other single justice stuff. Very little of which will be genuine........................


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PostPosted: Tue Oct 30, 2007 17:48 
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RobinXe wrote:
Sheesh, are you so hell-bent on disagreeing with me that you can't see the cross-purposes?
Only when your categorical statements conflict with what I know to be current practice.


RobinXe wrote:
If one continues to appeal a conviction as far as possible then a jury trial is inevitable before the ultimate conclusion. Is that clearer? The always pertained to every prosecution, not every hearing.
I have, this morning, checked with a court clerk (solicitor) and the clerk to the justices (barrister). They assure me that there is no possibility of a jury trial at any stage, up to and including the house of lords, for a summary offence such as speeding.


RobinXe wrote:
I was under the impression that the OP had already appealed once.
So is he. From what he has posted I suspect he attended a fines enforcement court.


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PostPosted: Tue Oct 30, 2007 17:55 
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Well, theres another inequity in the nature of summary injustice!

I can see why they wouldn't necessarily be either-way cases, and to try them as such would be prohibitive, but it does smack as being contrary to the principles of common law.


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PostPosted: Tue Oct 30, 2007 21:53 
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fisherman wrote:
RobinXe wrote:
Sheesh, are you so hell-bent on disagreeing with me that you can't see the cross-purposes?
Only when your categorical statements conflict with what I know to be current practice.


RobinXe wrote:
If one continues to appeal a conviction as far as possible then a jury trial is inevitable before the ultimate conclusion. Is that clearer? The always pertained to every prosecution, not every hearing.
I have, this morning, checked with a court clerk (solicitor) and the clerk to the justices (barrister). They assure me that there is no possibility of a jury trial at any stage, up to and including the house of lords, for a summary offence such as speeding.


RobinXe wrote:
I was under the impression that the OP had already appealed once.
So is he. From what he has posted I suspect he attended a fines enforcement court.


This is all very well. But one point does seem somewhat odd and, if this is the advice they gave you, strange, as both are legally qualified.

"They assure me that there is no possibility of a jury trial at any stage, up to and including the house of lords, for a summary offence such as speeding.

The only way anyone could get a jury trial "up to and including the House of Lords" (IE in the House of Lords) would be if that person was a member of the Lords. And I think that was abolished a short while back.

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PostPosted: Tue Oct 30, 2007 23:03 
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I'm fairly sure thats not what Fisherman meant. Presumably he was referring to the situation in dealing with purely "petty" offences, in which the Crown Court appeal would be heard in the absence of a jury. In the case of "either way" offences, a jury can be mandated by the Crown, or requested by the defendant. These are normally more serious cases, but can also be cases in which there are more in-depth evidential issues than would normally arise in a purely summary case.

I rather think the answer is more dependant on the terms in which he couched the original question to his colleagues.


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