Adam's Blog

Michael Howard fined £1615…

37 Comments

 

The Former Home Secretary, Michael Howard, has been fined £1615 (£900 fine, £625 costs and £90 “victim surcharge”), plus 6 penalty points after being convicted of failing to supply the information of the Driver after a recent speeding ticket.

His car was “caught” at 37mph in a 30 limit in January.

Staggeringly given his background in Law — he was awarded a Law degree in 1962 and became a practising Queen’s Counsel in 1982 — he completely messed up his defence!

Under the section on the NIP where an alternative driver can be named, he simply wrote “Wife”.

As someone with a working knowledge of the law, this beggars belief and surely invited the Court to come after him!

District Judge Barbara Barnes even described Lord Howard’s defence as “credible” and said she genuinely believed he and his wife had “racked their brains” to remember who was driving.

But she still found him guilty because he should have given his wife’s full name and address on the form, rather than simply writing “Wife”.

I’m sure that Lord Howard didn’t involve a Lawyer, because the “strategy” he used is almost guaranteed to fail.

If he had taken advice from specialist Lawyers, I think it’s very unlikely he would have found himself in Court in the first place.

And if he had, I’m sure it’s very likely from our experience (and the Judges comments) that he would have been found “not guilty”.

The Lawyers at DriveProtect are always asking me to remind Members to contact them the moment they receive a ticket or summons, and to not do anything without speaking to them first for just these kinds of reasons!

So if you’re a Member, there you go, I reminded you! 🙂

All the best,

Adam

P.S. If you’re not already a Member of DriveProtect, you can become one here.

37 Comments

  1. Mark gibby

    I have received 6 points and a £800 fine for the same thing my wife and I drive the same car and after asking for photo evidence to help us name the driver as we didn’t know who the driver was they didn’t show any evidence,they still took it on themselves to take it to court and give me points and a fine even though there was no evidence??

  2. Peter Owen

    Oh dear
    It seems that even QCs can make mistakes!
    Pretty likely that he would have been given just 3 points and a much lower fine even if found guilty of the original offence
    There is no doubt that this area of the law is a minefield and a good guide is essential.

  3. Julia Dixin-Pither

    They’re just after the money n penalty points – no thought of defence whatever. Just a cash generating game..n they’re astride the winner.. – not that I’m biased in any way. Completely ridiculous if it wasn’t so serious..

  4. Rodney Ridge

    The answer is do not speed and if do not know the area get a sat nav which will warn you of speed camer’s

  5. Robert Maidment-Wilson

    Victim surcharge? Where is there a victim in this offence? Whatever you might think of Michael Howard, the fine is excessive and disproportionate and the so-called Victim Surcharge is nothing but fraud!

  6. Mike

    I am surprised he acted so foolishly but the law is an ass. If he lies and says I did it or she did it when he doesnt actually know for sure he gets a simple fine and three points.

    If they could check because the camera can take a shot of the driver and then produces this to say that he had perjured himself he is in even more trouble.

    The fine is completely disproportionate, serious offences of a non motoring kind often result in much less draconian penalties.

  7. Maureen

    That is a nice one Adam, I like it and it couldn’t happen to a nicer person.
    That will teach him to be cockey!

  8. Dave Hilton

    I also had something happen like that I own a company with a number of vehicles on this day the vehicle was caught going through a road side camera at 35mph in a 30 zone I was taken to court because I was unable to tell them which one of the 27 employees I have was driving at the time so they find me £1,250.00 for failing to give them the driver. They couldn’t give me points because they couldn’t prove who was driving as I couldn’t prove who was driving either.

  9. Ian S

    Very often the photograph shows clearly the face of the driver, so be warned if you call for it, it may be tabled in court.

    But in my case the photograph also showed clearly the wing mirror and side of the car in front of mine. So the reading was not a clear shot of only one vehicle that could have reflected the beam back. Moreover it transpired they had captured this car in the seconds before and it was recorded speeding. Case dismissed.

  10. Tim Brooking

    Agree with Julia, this is just a money cow, nothing whatsoever to do with safety. Disgraceful behaviour by the powers that be.

  11. Raymond Levitus

    ref Alan Jones comment, what is the criterion for a summons. I also thought it was 10% + 2 mph

  12. Gregory Thibeault

    Win win situation not only a fine and surcharge but further monetary windfall to the Government through the Insurance tax since it is likely that all vehicles insured by the person involved will increase making the insurance tax higher.

  13. Jopullan

    I had exactly the same thing but I was not at home – I was actually caring for my sick and now dead mother I eventually went to court to explain why I hadn’t responded at all as I never went home to collect the mail and actually wasn’t driving the car- my brother had borrowed it and didn’t tell me he was flashed- even though I could prove I wasn’t at home the prosectuon made a big deal that I should have change. My address – I argued that my address hadn’t changed and the car was still kept at that address and I would return when mum died- they didn’t want to know at all- on the court day I had just been told my mother only had a couple of months to live so I was quite distraught – once again I got 6 points and £1000 fine. The judge looked shocked when after asking me my salary etc I said I’ll pay it straight away- he said oh I wasn’t expecting that- to which I responded I am not suprised you are not a good judge of character obviously ! At least I got that remark in. It is purely about the money- now you can be fined for not doing anything!

  14. LEIGHTON HABERFIELD

    The Hamiltons used this strategy successfully ten yrs ago. Sadly for Mr Howard he put wife oops!!

  15. James Kenyon

    Perhaps he had seven wives and could not remember who was driving. Glad to see the law implemented and know one is exempt. Nice one Mr Howerd.

  16. bob holmes

    just a day’s bar bill for an ex mp innit? And how much is his goldplated pension .look it up

  17. John

    10% + 2 is 35. So 37 was above the guideline !!!! Unless of course you didn’t know and for some strange reason thought it was 10mph + 2 mph giving 42mph which is a rediculous 40% over the 30 mph speed limit

  18. le pierre

    To the best of my knowledge (and experience) the 10% + 2 refers to the speed at which a nip will be issued, not the total ‘grace’ speed range. So, 34mph would probably be OK, 35 would not be. Ditto a 60 limit – 67 perhaps overlooked, 68 a nip is issued. But ultimately, the authorities can issue a nip at only 1mph over any limit. It is only a recommendation from ACPO that the nip is issued at speed+10%+2.

  19. Ken BRUNTON

    So what would people be fined who drive past my house at what feels like 80mph, and certainly is 60mph, in a 30mph zone?
    These types surely make matters worse for everybody else, don’t you think?

  20. Jim Knighton

    You say, ‘Staggeringly given his background in law’

    No surprise to me he messed up.

    Our present government is full of Lawyers yet they singularly failed to make sure the Brexit details were not confirmed before the vote.

    That will be why the Supreme Court is dealing with it now!!

  21. Alan

    What else can anybody do.Pick one person to name and they turn up with proof it was the other person, you will be charged with perverting the course justice.

  22. John

    Through reducing your speed by 1 mph, the likelihood of you being involved in a serious crash falls by 5%* When the unexpected occurs, a slower speed gives you a couple of extra moments to avoid or lessen the impact. Driving at or below the speed limit helps to protect yourself and other road users, remember:

    If you hit a child when driving at:

    40mph– you will probably kill the child
    30mph- the child has an 80% chance of survival
    20mph– the child is likely to survive with minor injuries.

  23. Chris

    There is no 10% + 2 rule. A woman on my last speed awareness course was done at 32mph in a 30.
    The smarmy preacher person said it was a myth.

  24. Fred Sporinge

    I suspect Michael Howard probably knew who was likely to have been driving. A man of his stature should have given his own name and would have avoided all this. However, I think that as he was doing only 35mph in a 30mph zone,this small infringement should have been ignored. The authorities should spend their time and our money dealing with serious crimes, like murder, burglaries, and so on.

  25. Jane Williamson

    Many many years ago Lancashire Police had a speed trap on Caton Road going into Lancaster and many drivers were fined for speeding at 31mph!!
    I was very wary going back to Lancashire after I had left home.

  26. Iain Purvis

    I was once done for doing 37MPH in a 30 zone, even though I was following a JCB at the time. Please tell me how I could have been doing more than 20MPH without crashing into the back of the excavator? Because I couldn’t prove it, no dashcams in those days, I pled guilty and got £60 and 3 points. Nowadays, I could prove it with the footage from my dashcam, which is always recording.

  27. Chris Gibb

    Its nice to see the rich and powerful getting their comeuppance in stead of getting away with everything, the old boys network didn’t work this time did it?

  28. Mike Boston

    I had this one ‘tried on’ and fought it. I could prove that I was out of the country and that the vehicle had been laid up and not moved.

    As they could not prove I was there and I could prove otherwise with travel documents they dropped the personal part for ‘lack of identification’.

    The vehicle was clearly a ‘clone’ with a differently spaced number plate and an absence of clearly aged stickers that had been on mine for years. Still they (CPS and Police) insisted that I was ‘keeper of that number!’ I then produced to the court a press release by the same constabulary warning drivers of the prevalence of ‘cloning’ in the area so as to steal fuel. The magistrates threw it out.

    A couple of weeks later I saw a car similar to my own with my number, I reported it but there was no interest in doing anything.

    I agree with others, this is clearly a money grabbing exercise in which drivers have to work very hard to prove themselves innocent and even then there is no identification needed for a successful prosecution. It’s wrong in all senses of the word.

  29. s broughton

    similar thing happened to me a couple of years ago.could have either been myself or my son driving.asked for their photographic evidence which didnt show the driver.my final contact with the police was, i cant honestly say who was driving, so what should i do. next contact for me was summons to court.charged with failing to identify the driver.i argued in court that i had not failed to identify the driver, and referred to my last letter i sent which was prodused in court as evidence, that ended with my request for advice because i couldnt honestly say who the driver was.the case against me was thrown out of court.

  30. Peter Stanley

    The 10% + 2mph ‘rule’ is not a myth. It was a recommendation and formed part of the guidelines from the Home Office and ACPO in the 1970s and 1980s. It was brought in as police forces realised that their speed recording equipment was far from accurate and they didn’t want defendants to claim inaccuracies in equipment if summoned for being 1mph over the limit. When Cheshire Police decided to ignore those guidelines in the 1990s other forces also ignored them as, through Gatso cameras, which were far more accurate, speeding drivers became cash cows for police forces. I speak as a retired ‘Traffic’ officer and I spent the last seven years of my police service working at the Home Office. I retired in 2010.

  31. Christopher Booth

    Looking at Ken Brunton’s comment I know the feeling. I live in a 40mph speed limit and vehicles pass my house on a daily basis at approx 50%above the speed limit.I wrote to the local police inspector who merely passed my letter onto the local council. I wrote to the council ans suggested that perhaps they would consider lowering the speed limit to 30mph. From the highway engineer”to reduce the speed limit to 30mph would encourage drivers to ignore the speed limit and would more than likely cause more accidents and injuries” so there you have it, unless someone is seriously injured or killed the council ain’t interested.The motoring laws are an ass!

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