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Keppe Rofer Solicitors :: Frequently asked questions about speed camera offences

Frequently asked questions about speed camera offences

What do the prosecution have to prove to convict me of a speeding offence?

The offence of speeding is created by Section 89 of the Road Traffic Regulation Act 1984. In order for the prosecution to secure a conviction, they must prove beyond reasonable doubt, that your motor vehicle was driven on a road at a speed exceeding the limit.

In speed camera cases, the prosecution will need to rely on evidence from a police officer or, more commonly, a safety camera operator. The evidence, which has to be provided to you in written form, will need to contain the following information.

  • That the camera / device is one approved by the Secretary of State.
  • That on the day of the offence it was operating correctly.
  • That the road is subject to a speed limit.
  • The make, index number and speed of the vehicle identified.
  • The identity of the person driving.

Since the introduction of the Criminal Justice Act 2003, the prosecution have to follow strict rules to provide an unbreakable chain of evidence that establishes a link from the image captured on the camera to the actual identification of your vehicle. A failure by the prosecution to follow these rules can, in certain circumstances, lead to a case being dismissed.

In order for the Prosecution to secure a conviction for speeding, it will be necessary for them to provide a notice of intended prosecution pursuant to the requirements of Section 1 of the Road Traffic Offenders Act 1988. In speed camera cases, this is normally sent by post. If the notice of intended prosecution is not received by the registered keeper within 14 days of the date of the alleged offence, then a person cannot be convicted of speeding.

How can the Prosecution prove that I was driving?

Unlike cases involving motorists that have been stopped by the Police for speeding, Speed Camera cases rely on the registered keeper of the vehicle involved to supply information as to the identity of the offending vehicle.

The prosecution, if put to proof, are able to establish the identity of the registered keeper by producing a DVLA extract.

I am the registered keeper. Do I have to provide information as to the identity of the driver?

Section 172(2) of the Road Traffic Act 1988 states that:

“Where a driver of a vehicle is alleged to be guilty of an offence to which this section applies (a) the person keeping the vehicle shall give such information as to the identity of the driver as he may be required to give by or on behalf of a chief officer of police, and (b) any other person shall if required as stated above give any information which it is in his power to give and may lead to the identification of the driver”

Prior to the case of DPP v Broomfield [2002] EWHC Admin 1962 a person could send back a reply form containing the details of the driver, thereby complying with Section 172. However, if the reply was not signed, then the driver details were inadmissible in court. DPP v Broomfield closed this loophole and said that unless the reply form was fully completed and signed, then Section 172 was not being complied with and the offence of failing to give information would be committed.

The penalty for failing to give information is a fine and unless there are special reasons, a licence would be endorsed with 3 penalty points.

Are there any defences available for failing to provide information?

There are two statutory defences to failing to provide information. The first is “reasonable diligence”. Section 172(4) states that “A person [keeping the vehicle] shall not be guilty of an offence…..if he shows that he did not know and could not with reasonable diligence have ascertained who the driver of the vehicle was”. It will be noted that this defence can only be put forward by the “person keeping the vehicle”, this means that the defence is not just restricted to the registered keeper. In addition, it is suggested that a keeper must exercise reasonable diligence in obtaining driver details at the time that the vehicle was driven rather than at the time that the request for information was made.

A person relying on this defence must satisfy that he has exercised reasonable diligence on a balance of probabilities.

The second defence is provided in Section 172(7). This defence gives a person an opportunity to provide information later than the required 28 days, if that person was away at the time the notice was served.

What do the Prosecution need to do in order to prove an offence of failing to provide information?

Not surprisingly, the prosecution need to prove beyond reasonable doubt, that the notice has been served and that there has been a failure to respond to the notice. Section 7 of the Interpretation Act 1978 provides that “the service is deemed to be effected by properly addressing, pre-paying and posting a letter containing the document and, unless the contrary is proved, to have been effected at the time at which the letter would be delivered in the ordinary course of post.”

My car is registered to a limited company, if no notice providing information is returned, what happens then?

The offence of speeding can only be committed by “a person”. Whilst this could potentially include a limited company, it is unlikely that a limited company could be convicted of “driving” and therefore of a speeding offence. The likely outcome for a limited company for failing to provide information is that it could be convicted and fined, but clearly no endorsement could be imposed. A responsible officer within a limited company could face prosecution personally for failing to provide information, but only if the responsible officer had failed to exercise reasonable diligence in identifying the actual driver of the vehicle at the time of the alleged offence.

The above should in no way be regarded as a full statement of the law, and ought to be regarded as being for information purposes only. Should you require any specific information in relation to any actual ongoing cases against you please contact us at: enquiries@kepperofer.co.uk