JUST occasionally, technicalities and official pedantry can work in favour of the average guy or gal.
The Crown Prosecution Service has coyly owned up to the fact that the variable speed limit signs on the M42 are the wrong size – taller and narrower than they should be. Because of that, some speeding convictions may be quashed.
In fact motoring solicitor Richard Silver believes that the cock up could invalidate speeding convictions going back to 2006.
“The legislation is quite clear. If a sign is not the correct size and proportions, a driver should not be convicted. Cases against three of my clients have already been discontinued. Drivers who unwittingly pleaded guilty should have their convictions set aside. Anything else would be unfair. It remains to be seen whether or not the Crown Prosecution Service will put up a fight.
Cases against three of my clients have already been discontinued
“It wouldn’t be the first time that something like this has happened, ” says Mr Silver.
“A few years ago, I acted for a driver who whilst representing himself had pleaded guilty to speeding on the M6. Although the Police eventually admitted that the speed camera had not been properly type approved, the prosecution wouldn’t agree to the conviction being set aside. It was only when a District Judge granted my application to set aside the conviction and remove the points that the CPS finally agreed to drop the case.”
And in another example of the how the finer detail of the law can work both ways, in 1991 the High Court had to quash the convictions of hundreds of drivers who had pleaded guilty to drink driving.
Why? Because the blood tests on which the prosecution relied had been taken using cleaning swabs which were contaminated with alcohol.