The Magistrate's Blog (2005-2012)

This blog has migrated to www.magistratesblog.blogspot.co.uk This blog is anonymous, and Bystander's views are his and his alone. Where his views differ from the letter of the law, he will enforce the letter of the law because that is what he has sworn to do. If you think that you can identify a particular case from one of the posts you are wrong. Enough facts are changed to preserve the truth of the tale but to disguise its exact source.

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Location: Near London, United Kingdom

The blog is written by a retired JP, with over 30 years' experience on the Bench.

Tuesday, February 22, 2005

Play judge again (2)

We approached the sentence in two parts. We first looked at the offence, and decided that lights are easy to check, and as it was a company car the driver only had to take it into any garage shop to get the bulb changed. Faulty lights can cause accidents. Nevertheless, a routine offence, not the most serious, so a fine of £200 seemed about right. Because of his guilty plea we reduced it to £125. Licence endorsed, 3 points. £35 costs. He had three previous speeding convictions each earning him 3 points.

We then looked at the Exceptional Hardship argument. As others have pointed out he has the resources to pay for taxis, and there was, in fact, acceptable public transport between home and work. The clerk read us the guideline on hardship, and reminded us that the test of what is exceptional is a high one. All the same, it was up to us to decide how long this particular piece of string was. I hinted in my post at a trade-off between the fine and the length of the ban so that I could say that we never do that. It is common for drivers to say, more or less, "fine me as much as you like, but let me keep my licence". That is a no-no because it amounts to buying your way out of the consequences of your offences.

We hardened our hearts and disqualified him for six months. He appealed to the Crown Court, and we were upheld.

Three final points: when he gets his licence back after six months it will be clean, but a second totting within three years would be for a minimum 12 months. Had his exceptional hardship argument been effective he would not have been allowed to use it again for three years.