Legal advice needed please! - 9000
Probably not the best time to post this in light of recent postings about careless drivers but anyway...


In February I was involved in a minor accident with a police vehicle. No damage was done to either vehicle. At the time I was advised that I would be reported for driving without due care and attention.

At the end of May I received a letter from the police:


"....I refer to the above accident in which you were involved. After careful consideration of the available evidence and surrounding circumstances, the Crown Prosecution Service decided that no further action will be taken against you at this stage. However, if circumstances change or further evidence is brought to the notice of the police, investigation into this incident may be reopened.

This decision does not prejudice the right of any other party to institute civil proceedings, nor will it directly affect the outcome of any such action."

Great! Except that today I received a summons for DWDCA.

Question is has the letter weakened the case of the police?

The letter seems vague enough to allow for reopening of the case but if nothing has changed since it was written then is it reasonable that the case should be reopened? I am not aware of any further evidence or change in circumstances. I'm hoping it's an admin error- what's the best way to tackle this?

Thanks,


9000




Legal advice needed please! - memyself-aye
It's not an admin error, I think plod has three months to instigate legal proceedings. You don't say whethre you think you are guilty of driving without due care and attention. Difficult to see how you can defend that after pranging a police car...(police expert trained drivers - v- joe public etc etc...)
Legal advice needed please! - Marcos{P}
Even Police drivers can make mistakes.
Legal advice needed please! - Armitage Shanks{P}
Nobody has said who hit who! There was an accident between two vehicles. Maybe Plod caused the collision and is covering his confusion with bluster and threats! Do you think you are guilty as charged or was it a 50/50 situation?
Legal advice needed please! - frostbite
It's certainly unusual - they generally have a policy of not prosecuting when their own vehicles are involved.

I write as one who has tested this policy!
Legal advice needed please! - PLS
I would have thought your first option is to contact the department which produced the 'no further action' letter and ask for an explanation. This is likely to be the same department that began the process which led to the summons being issued. There may be grounds to argue that the situation is an abuse of process and matters should be dropped.
Legal advice needed please! - Fullchat
Without knowing the ins and outs of the matter it is difficult to make any informed observations. The letter is standard in its format in that it leaves the matter open ended.
I would suggest that at the time it was sent the evidence was either inconclusive or insufficiant to stand a realistic chance of a prosecution or the matter did not fall within the prosecution criteria. I would also suggest that since the letter was sent perhaps further evidence has come to light which then passes the tests above.
Come on lets have the facts to make informed comment.


Fullchat
Legal advice needed please! - J.B.
Fullchat how you getting on with your caravan wheels?
Sorry for the diversion.
Legal advice needed please! - 9000
'minor accident' may have been a bit misleading. What happened was that I approached a T junction to turn right. I did not see a police transit approaching from my right until I had pulled out of the T junction. The police transit braked hard and stopped short of my car- there was no collision. There was another vehicle approaching from the left (some distance away) and the police obtained a statement from the driver.

As far as I am aware all evidence/ statements were taken at the scene so I am not sure how any further evidence could have come to light.

Obviously if this does go to court I will have to take the rap for it as it was my fault- the only reason for my posting is the confusion caused by the letter which I received prior to the summons. I will call the originator tomorrow and let you know what they say.


Legal advice needed please! - Fullchat
Thanks for that. What area of the country do you live? Is someone in the van claiming to be injured? If so it is classed as an 'Accident' even if there is no impact.
Ordinarily a ticket for failing to conform would have been appropriate. Keep the info coming.


Fullchat
Legal advice needed please! - Fullchat
Ah the caravan wheel! £2500 worth of damage and starting on the repairs end of the week. Doesn't look like I'll see the summer holiday in it. Not much to report really. I took the rim off the nearside and noticed that the holes were slightly off symmetrical. Rims I wonder?
Anyway have put the road tyres back on the original rims and will CLOSELY monitor when the van comes back. Will also ensure strict cleanliness between hub and wheel and contact area between hole and wheel. Certainly the suggestion that the rim is centered on the bolts rather than a raised center flange has some mileage.
Have done some serious teeth sucking with friends and no one seems to have a definitive answer. Have considered doing a stud converion similar to my Astra rally car which made the fitting of rims easier and allowed the use of nuts rather than bolts.
Will update when I get the aluminium snail back.


Fullchat
Legal advice needed please! - Fullchat
That should have read - wheel taken from the offside and the bolts had marked the holes slightly off symmetrical.


Fullchat
Legal advice needed please! - Pugugly {P}
If they are doing you for careless driving without an actual bump - you should have been NIP'd at the scene or by Post. Did they interview you?. he letter is a pretty good cop out, it doesnt say much really....two ways of playing it, plead guilty and see a brief (duty at Court shouldn't cost you anything) or see a brief before putting a plea,,they seem to have been a bit slow in process really,,,
(Not legal advice of course etc etc)
Legal advice needed please! - 9000
I haven't had a NIP is this significant? I was interviewed at the scene and gave a statement though.

Legal advice needed please! - Fullchat
Was or is someone in the Police van claiming to be injured as a result of the heavy braking? If yes then as I have stated the incident falls within the definition of an 'accident' and therefore no NIP needed. If not then a verbal one would have sufficed if no writen one subsequently received by post..


Fullchat
Legal advice needed please! - jeds
You say in the original post that they said you would be reported for...

I think that was a NIP.
Legal advice needed please! - Fullchat
Pug

This style of letter is more often used in Crime type scenarios ( But we dont like crime do we?!)
Basically say someone is detained and bailed for an offence and at the end of it there is insufficiant evidence to prosecute/charge then they may be released from their Police bail by letter containing this style of warning.
This allows the matter to be put to bed and filed. However if some further evidence comes to light then the matter could be ressurected and dealt with.
If the matter had simply been filed as 'No Further Action' and the suspect informed as such then it would be an abuse of process to ressurect it.

This is really for the benefit of backroomers and not an attempt to teach you to suck eggs - If you know what I mean!



Fullchat
Legal advice needed please! - 9000
No injuries as far as I am aware
Legal advice needed please! - Godfrey H {P}
Unless somone is claiming to be injured, the phrase "Haven't they got something else better to do with their time" springs to mind. Good luck.
Legal advice needed please! - Dwight Van Driver
Full Chat and PU have covered it, but 2 penneth.

9000 -when you were interviewed at the scene did Plod tell you after taking your statement using words somewhat like " You will be reported for the consideration of the question of prosecuting you for driving without due care and attention"?

Did you leave the scene under no doubt that you had been reported?

If so then it will be claimed that NIP has been complied with. My old procedure in such cases was always to back up with a written NIP. If not you have the argument that you were not served with NIP a get out clause but presumably will be argued at Court.

The letter you received was if from CPS itself or Police Process Unit? Again this may be used as mitigation by your Brief unless of course new witnesses have been found that fireproof the case.

To me a most unusual way of dealing with things.

DVD

Legal advice needed please! - Bob the builder
9000, FWIW. Search for Help Careless driving 3rd April this year.
You have two choices : to try to fight it which may or may not cost you money ; or to hold your hands up and admit it. Me and my son chose the latter and got off with 3 points and NO fine, only £35 costs. Yes, he's got 3 points on his licence, BUT itMAY have been worth it rather than all the hassle of the fight, especially when he HAD been guilty of "Careless driving". Best of luck.
Legal advice needed please! - Pugugly {P}
Odd one - agree with backing up a verbal NIP with a written one as Good Practice, leaves no-one in doubt.
Legal advice needed please! - HisHonour {P}
I concur with all the advice given above. It does sound, on the face of it, like an abuse of process and a bit of deft correspondence with whichever department has issued the summons might result in its withdrawal. However, failing that, since you admit to the carelessness (at least on this site), if they insist on proceeding I would suggest you plead guilty and take the points and a small fine. If it comes to that and if the CPS applies for costs you have a very good argument to put to the magistrates as to why costs should not be awarded in this case. Explain the situation exactly as you remember it (as you have here).
Legal advice needed please! - sean
The police have 6 months to proceed, from date of incident, provided that they issued a notice of intended prosecution to the registered address of the driver.

There does not have to be any collision or injury or damage to be convicted of dangerous or careless driving. It needs to be satisfactorily proved that the culprit put the complainant in danger or the standard of driving fell substantially below that which could be reasonably expected.
Legal advice needed please! - Pugugly {P}
Sean,
Agree with Para 2 - but not with para 1, a verbal NIP given at the time is sufficient - and a catch all in the act says that an NIP will have been deemed to have been given unless the contrary can be proved - 6 month rule applies in most cases there are exceptions including death cases and for some reason (no doubt Mark may help here) Insurance offences.
Legal advice needed please! - sean
Thanks Pug.
Legal advice needed please! - pmh
Every body seems to have missed one potential (expensive?) point. If the police are proceeding because of a claimed injury have you now informed your insurance company?

Presumably as you were not aware of any injury you did not tell them at the time.


pmh (was peter)
Legal advice needed please! - Hugo {P}
Hmm... No collision or contact of any kind??

You should be entitled to copies of any evidence, statements etc taken if you are to be prosecuted, so that you have the option of challenging this. You may be able to establish exactly what piece of evidence has made them bring this action. Some searching questions over the phone wouldn't hurt, and it may make them rethink.

If you're a member of the AA or RAC then they may appoint and pay for a solicitor on your behalf (worth their weight in gold). Alternitively, your insurance may provide this. Check this out.

Alternitively look on the web for Desktop Lawyer. This has a mine of useful info on traffic related offences. You may even see some stuff about procedure as well.

Best of luck!

H
Legal advice needed please! - bernie
Just a thought,but substitute a motorcycle for the police transit and the outcome might have been tragic.

If you were paying attention,how can you NOT spot a vehicle ,the size of a Transit.

Guilty as charged !

Accept it and maybe learn a valuable lesson!

ps

I hope you were not using a mobile phone !
Legal advice needed please! - Pugugly {P}
Out of interest what did it say in the Statement of Facts...?
Legal advice needed please! - sean
Yes, that is what has been upsetting me throughout all this.

I ride a Honda Fireblade.

People do pull out in front of me. I haven't a wheel to stand on as I'm usually over the speedlimit.

To miss a Transit????

To miss a POLICE Transit????

I'd plead guilty and get down to Specsavers.

You can get a reduced fee TV licence too, if registered blind.
Legal advice needed please! - Gen
Very harsh Sean! Why should he see a police transit more than any other transit?

9000

Don't be so generous in your assessment of the incident. You pulled out of a junction, a police transit had to stop sharpish. This involves two vehicles, and it may be that your nature is to take the blame (especially wrt to police vehicle). I know people apologise to me when I have made a mistake on the road...it is quite possible that the police van was also/solely at fault (excessive speed etc).

I would say this. I am not a criminal lawyer and have no experience of this kind of incident. However to my mind statements taken by the police officers involved in the incident are not trustworthy on the following basis
(1) The police officers were involved in the incident
(2) The police officers clearly have an interest in a particular version of the events
(3) The other witnesses would feel a compulsion to support the police version, particularly when dealing with the particular officers concerned. At this stage the witnesses memories would be malleable and a suggestive questioning would imprint such a memory in violation of the true facts. {your memory would be equally malleable}

While if every police officer was as honest and trustworthy as DVD or Fullchat etc we would have a better country, we don't. You cannot know why the transit drivers made a big incident of a (near?) miss. I will get stick for it, but could I suggest it as a small possibility some policeman thought this a good excuse for disability retirement?

So, consider the possibility that you were not at fault, even that you were the victim. In the alternative, if you were driving careless and you can avoid the 3points why not? You will have learnt your lesson I guess, and why punish yourself further? Sounds like self-mutilation to me.


Legal advice needed please! - Dwight Van Driver
Gen

Your second para makes me shake my head.

Polaccs (Police Vehicle Accidents) receive more attention in investigation than the normal run of the mill bump etc. You will probably find that in this case none of the Officers involved will be dealing with the incident themselves and it will be another officer totally unconnected with the Unit of the driver. They will submit their statement to the Officer dealing. Why - to satisfy the general public.

Having been involved in a couple of accidents myself and under investigation, the on going investigation can make you twitch even when not at fault (on both occasions).

As to suggestive questioning then this is a very dangerous path to go down. At the end of the day the evidence has to stand up in Court and very clever Solicitors etc can soon make shreds of anything false but are lost when faced with the absolute truth.

Full Chat and MLC will no doubt confirm this is still the practice.

DVD

Legal advice needed please! - Gen
DVD

Thought you might respond!

The way I read the thread is that the officers in the van interviewed the other motorists around. Would you really call out other officers where no contact was made? 9000 can answer this.

I am sure being investigated as a police officer for an accident is not pleasant.

Personally I would dispute the reliability of the evidence. It is for the prosecution to offer this evidence, and to question it's value is legitimate. However I haven't seen the witness statements nor 9000's statements so this would influence. I would put it strongly in a conversation and in court would temper it down (suggestive does not need imply wrong-doing - as another thread writer wrote people tend to assume the police driver was in the right as advanced training etc).

To my mind if you look left and right then go, and a transit van you didn't see arrives to a screeching halt, there are two possibilities
(1) You didn't look properly
(2) The transit is travelling at excessive speed which is how it arrived so quickly after you looked (depends on road)

Why should 9000 assume the first is the only possibility?

Unfortunately it has become de rigeur to recommend plead guilty to careless driving due to low punishment (3points, low fine). To the police it is a nothing crime (as they deal with people who have long records of serious crimes) but I don't see it that way. I sympathise with the people who feel speeding fines etc are branding them as criminals - because they are! If you don't expect much evidence to find guilty it should be made into a civil penalty.







Legal advice needed please! - bernie
Gen.

If I ever need someone to persuade me that Black is actually white and white is black or maybe a bit grey,then you sound like just the man.

This is what typifies our present advesarial legal system and the highly paid people that frequent it !

Legal advice needed please! - Fullchat
Gen
Thank you for your alternative slant on this matter. There is one important issue here, as in a previous thread, and that is that ALL THE VALID QUESTIONS HAVE NOT BEEN ANSWERED. Without those questions being answered we are all shooting in the dark.

There are a number of backroomers from different walks of life who can and do offer advice from their perspective.

To name but two myself and DVD have probably dealt with more accidents than we care to add up and Pug has probably defended a few. To give the benefit of experience, and dont forget people are asking for opinions, we need ALL the facts not just those that suit.

For example in this case we were firstly informed of a "minor accident" and then it was a case of pulling out infront of a Police Transit without a collision but the van had to "brake hard". I asked if ther were any injuries. " No injuries as far as I am aware." I'm sorry but if there were any injuries claimed then 9000 would certainly been aware as he would have been in contact with his insurance company or is that another issue! There either was or there was not and thereby the validity of the NIP hangs. Someone asked what did the 'Statement of Facts' say? A valid question to which we have not had a reply.

OK so he's pulled out infront of a Police van. What made him stop or was it such a near miss that he felt obliged to or was it just a " whoops cut that a bit fine!"

If its not an accident and there are no counter allegations then there would be no need to have it dealt with independently and the Officers would be quite entitled to deal accordingly.

There is one simple answer to the explanation by someone that the vehicle they pulled out infront of was travelling too fast and that is "Do you make a habit of pulling out infront of vehicles travelling fast?" Works every time.

I would be the first to admit that the Police do not always get it right but it is nowhere near as often as some would have you believe for their own ends. And Gen it is plausible that if the Police were in the wrong then they would make up a malicious prosecution to either substantiate their compensation claim or because the were in the wrong for some bizzare reason. But really on the facts presented its only a case of a car pulling out iront of them - it happens all the time. I'am sorry if I am doing 9000 an injustice and perhaps he not yet wise to the ways of the world but to make informed answers we need facts.


Fullchat
Legal advice needed please! - Gen
Have to agree with all that Fullchat, look forward to more information.

Of course it would have to be a road with limited visibility/bend to say you didn't see the vehicle due to speed.

I too was wondering if he pulled out then put the brakes on (instinctively) due to seeing too late. As in, the action of braking when pulling out late rather than flooring it was the careless driving accusation.

More info will come I'm sure...




Legal advice needed please! - Godfrey H {P}
Aren't you missing the point. The original question was about due process not about guilt or innocence, yet you've all jumped on the bandwagon. Guilty or not to my mind it rates as no more than an "incident", and unless someone was injured I can't understand why Police are wasting their time. However, like everyone else I'm not in possesion of the full facts.
Legal advice needed please! - 9000
Many thanks for all of your replies. I called the originator of the letter who has just come back to me. It seems that the issuing of the summons was an admin error. The letter which I first received reflects the current viewpoint of the CPS/ Police-for some reason a summons was generated in error.

To answer some of your questions:

No- one mentioned that they were injured at the time or since

Mobile phone was not in use

I did look both ways before pulling out- the van was not there when I looked (residential road, not straight, parked cars on side nearest me)

It is possible that the Transit was going too fast but I will never know this for certain.

My statement was taken by an officer who arrived in a different vehicle- I don't know who took the witness statement.

If this had gone to court I would have pleaded guilty- rationale being fairly low penalty (I'd be surprised to get more than 6 points and a few hundred £ fine), having space on my licence for this penalty, averse to spending time + money on a defence with a small chance of success, fear of increased penalty if losing the case after pleading not guilty.

Legal advice needed please! - Fullchat
Thank you for your reply. I am sure you are pleased with the outcome. However it is not good that you may have had a few sleepless nights as a result of someone elses incompetence.
As I have said we were all shooting in the dark based on limited facts and if I have misinterpreted some of the events I apologise.
Godfrey H - although the qustion was about due process and not guilt or innocence, process instigated is dependent on all the circumstances of the incident as there is almost a national criteria regarding action taken and it was simply a fact find as to wether or not the circumstances fitted within those criteria. It would then be possible to give informed advice and as we have seen had all the pertanant facts been presented then it would have been seen that someone had goofed!
However I do accept that from a professional point of view what I would regard as pertanant may not seem relevent to others.
I would also add that for someone to go to the trouble of submitting a full process file then someone must have felt that the matter was serious enough to pursue. No one likes to waste time on a non starter!


Fullchat
Legal advice needed please! - Dwight Van Driver
...submitting a full process file.....

Whatever happended to the Mini-File system Full Chat.

DVD
Legal advice needed please! - Fullchat
Not where I come from DVD. Its the full monty! Crime is a bit more streamlined if its a GP.


Fullchat
 

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