Wednesday, February 09, 2011

Trial and Errors

It was a nice change to hear a trial today, as I have been doing mostly remand courts, appraisals, and PoCA cases for the last couple of months. The main business of the day was a drink-drive case; these don't often plead not guilty as the number of possible defences is limited. As so often happens, the driver was caught because of a silly little accident in which he misjudged a manoeuvre and scraped his car, just as a police car was passing by. His reading was about one and a half times the limit, not the highest we have ever seen, but he escaped a long ban by the skin of his teeth because he was just a few weeks past ten years since a previous drink-drive conviction. If the stop had been just that little bit earlier, we would have had to impose a three year ban.
He was represented at his own expense and pleaded not guilty for reasons that I can't go into; we realised why he had laid out the cash for a solicitor when we heard that he drives, or rather drove, for a living.
For many people a driving ban can be a huge and costly punishment, and that is why the likes of 'Mr. Loophole' flourish.

We also sentenced an unprincipled fellow who used a forged disabled driver's badge as he went about his business. We fined him the best part of £500 and told him that we thought this was a mean and anti-social offence.

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