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Speeding & Singe Justice Procedure

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  • #16
    Been a few replies but it doesn't seem so clear cut, what can you make of what's been said?


    • #17
      Hi Wheely,

      I've posted a bit I've discovered from the link to the CPS guidance that The Rookie provided. I was thinking along the wrong lines in that I believed withdrawal of a charge was irreversible, but it isn't. However, as you can see, that guidance also makes mention of the six month time limit for prosecutions.

      Apart from that, there are other protections for defendants and it seems the prosecution cannot simply withdraw a charge and then reinstate it without good reason. The idea of the six month limit is to give those suspected of "summary" offences protection from being "in limbo" for an indefinite amount of time (as they can be with indictable offences). That protection would be lost if the prosecution could simply withdraw a charge and then reinstate it at any time in the future by virtue of the fact that the proceedings had already begun prior to the withdrawal.

      Apart from that, defendants are entitled to make representations to the court when a withdrawal is requested by the prosecution to ask why, if the matter cannot proceed, they should not be acquitted. You were not afforded that opportunity. In fact, far from that, you were not even informed that the matter had been withdrawn, let alone given the chance to challenge it.

      I'm hoping that somebody like southpaw (on Pepipoo) will cite the legislation which covers this. Meantime I'm having a search myself.


      • #18
        Your golden Handy, you've obviously gone through a lot of trouble on my behalf and I'm truly grateful.

        This 6 month rule appears to be the bone of contention, let's say they can't reopen case so do I just ignore the second SJPN?
        But what if they can reopen case what do I do then?

        I just want someone to say right do this and that will be it, over.

        I didn't realise a speeding case could cause so much confusion!
        Do you know what legal capacity the posters are on fighting back? southpaw, rookie etc


        • #19
          Hi Wheelie,

          I think, if you're going to have a saviour, the six month rule, as mentioned in the CPS guidance on reinstituting a charge after withdrawal, is the one. I'm trying to find out what legislation covers this and was hoping one of our Pepipoo friends might help. There must be an angle to this because, as I explained in Pepipoo, the "six month rule" is there for the protection of defendants to avoid them being caught in indefinite limbo whilst prosecutors fanny about. It would be unjust if a case could be withdrawn simply to be resumed whenever a prosecutor feels like it. Andy Foster (on Pepipoo) touched on this when he mentioned "protectively laying an information" which is an abuse of process. "Laying an Information" is effectively beginning court proceedings. Prosecutors cannot do this until they have decided to charge somebody. If they could this would be another way to circumvent the six month rule. Once the information is laid the six month rule becomes irrelevant because proceedings have begun. Withdrawing a case without the six month rule determining how long they can delay reviving it would have the same effect. The difference is that a "live" case has the oversight of the court who should protect the defendant's rights. In a withdrawn case they cannot.

          As far as your current predicament goes, how long have you to respond to the SJPN? You can gain more time by pleading Not Guilty. Because a ban is almost inevitable in the event of a conviction, the SJ will almost certainly adjourn for a normal court hearing even if you plead guilty. You can always change your plea if you eventually find you have no argument. But I think you must explore every avenue because of your circumstances. I'll continue to dig around but if I'm unsuccessful it may be worth your while exploring the possibility of getting a free consultation with a solicitor. Many offer a free 30m consultation. The issue is straightforward - does the six month time limit on prosecutions for summary offences apply when reinstituting a charge that has been withdrawn?

          I'm not certain of any of the qualifications held by contributors on Pepipoo, I believe southpaw (the site's main moderator) is legally qualified, though does not practice in this country. I don't think Rookie is. That said, you must accept that nobody is giving formal advice, simply their opinion based on what they know and what they've investigated specifically. I'm sure you realise I am not legally qualified and I offer my advice in the same vein.

          I didn't realise a speeding case could cause so much confusion!
          Have you seen some of the cases on Pepipoo !!! :-)


          • #20
            Hi Wheelie,

            I’ve been thinking about this and believe I have come up with a way forward. In your position I would write to (or e-mail) the “Clerk to the Justices” (of the court where your case is listed) with something along these lines:

            Dear Sir or Madam,

            On dd January 2022 I received a Single Justice Procedure Notice (SJPN) for a speeding offence which is alleged to have taken place on dd October 2020. A copy is attached, I had received an earlier SJPN for this offence dated dd March 2021 to which I responded. A copy of that SJPN together with a copy of my response and proof of posting is also attached. I heard nothing more about that matter until the receipt of this latest SJPN.

            Enquiring with the court I established that the charge was withdrawn on dd May 2021. I have studied the CPS guidance on withdrawing a charge and it says this:

            Leave to withdraw is required. The court has complete discretion whether to grant leave. The prosecuting advocate will need to give sufficient reasons to satisfy the court that the application is a proper one. The defendant is entitled to make representations as to whether they should be entitled to an acquittal.”

            I was given no notification of the hearing at which the charge was withdrawn. As I result I do not know why it was withdrawn and I had no opportunity to make representations. I have also studied the CPS guidance on reinstituting a charge. Firstly, the Code for Crown Prosecutors says this:

            "10.1 People should be able to rely on decisions taken by the CPS. Normally, if the CPS tells a suspect or defendant that there will not be a prosecution, or that the prosecution has been stopped, the case will not start again."

            But, perhaps more importantly, the CPS Guidance also says this:

            "Proceedings may not be reinstituted as a matter of law in the following circumstances:

            2. The offence is summary only and the statutory time limit, usually 6 months, has expired.

            This charge stems from an alleged offence in October 2020 which was withdrawn in May 2021. By any interpretation the six month time limit barring prosecutions for summary offences has now expired. I have not yet responded to the latest SJPN and before I do I should be grateful for your opinion on this matter, hopefully together with confirmation that I will see no further action.

            Obviously tailor the reply if you do not have any of the various documents I have mentioned. Hopefully you should be able to get a definitive response to this hopefully from somebody who knows what they are talking about.


            • #21
              Hi Handy

              Many thanks for taking time out to write an in depth letter of information.
              I'm going to ring around a few Motoring Solicitors on Monday, see what they say and take it from there.
              I did email Birmingham magistrates customer service on the 11th but no reply as of yet.
              I'm going to go back to the court Wednesday and see if anything has changed regards new charge against me, But shouldn't the court have heard about this new SJPN same time I did 8.1.22?
              If that is the case, then there won't be a new charge, as when I visited the court Thursday the only charge against me had been withdrawn and there was nothing else on the system.
              If there's nothing new against me then surely I can ignore the latest SJPN as the court can't do anything without a charge?
              If I need to(last resort but if advised to I will) I'll email the Single Justice Service.


              • #22
                Hi Wheelie,

                As I think Southpaw explained over on the other site, the SJPN is (normally) accompanied by a written charge which goes to the court. As far as I understand it, it is this the court relies on to enter your case into the court's system so that it is listed for attention. The problem is there is already a charge associated with the offence (even though it's been withdrawn). I don't have enough knowledge of the courts' systems to know whether the lack of an accompanying "second" charge to go along with the latest SJPN would see your matter fall through a gap.

                I would not advise you simply ignore the SJPN. Even though you may eventually be proved right (and I strongly suspect you will because of the "six month rule") if it is dealt with and nobody notices the timings, it will be a nuisance to get reversed. What will almost certainly happen (because of the speed alleged) is that the case will be taken out of the SJ process. The SJ will almost certainly adjourn for a full court hearing which you will be invited to attend, so you should not be convicted and banned in your absence if you ignore the SJPN. But you cannot rely 100%.

                I think it's wise to consult a solicitor as there are too many unknowns. Do let us know what they say.


                • #23

                  Sent both SJPN's to motoring specialist solicitor who said the police can't do much as it's over the 6 months, they also noticed I'm charged with speeding on the wrong road(5 mile from where it happened) but everying apart from the charge is saying the correct road.
                  They said its a truly bizarre case something they have never seen before, case withdrawn then resurfacing.
                  They are writing to the Police to tell them to drop the charge, my success rate they say is very high!
                  What with the wrong road, limitation expired its hopefully looking good.
                  Just got to wait to hear back from solicitor


                  • #24
                    Hi Wheelie,

                    Excellent news. Let's hope it all works out. I imagined (after a few days of digging) that the six month rule would be your saviour. Do let us know how it finally turns out. Glad I was not the only one who had never seen such a thing!


                    • #25

                      How do you see that wrong road issue?
                      I did see the error when I got the 1st SJPN but I thought well it's a fair cop and pleaded guilty.
                      I'm getting the feeling case was withdrawn because of this...... but if that was the case why send a 2nd duplicate SJPN?

                      Don't worry my mate I will let you know what happens every time I hear something, but tonight I'll sleep better instead of waking up @ 5am thinking about it! (hopefully)


                      • #26
                        Hi Wheelie,

                        I don't see the wrong road on the charge as a game changer to be honest. The prosecution can make amendments right up until the close of their case in the event of a trial (though in practice they would usually make them before it began). The only time a wrong location can potentially make a difference is with the NIP (which must specify the time and location where the offence took place) and possibly the "Section 172" notice (which asks the Registered Keeper to provide the driver's details at a specific time and place),. But even then mistakes on these are not necessarily fatal to a prosecution.

                        The real saviour for you is the six month rule. It seemed obvious to me from the outset (because of that rule) that the prosecution could not withdraw a charge that had been properly brought and then simply resurrect it at any time that pleases them. But having never encountered such a thing before I was not sure of the mechanics that would prevent a resurrection. I initially thought that a withdrawn charge was dead and buried and any new charge would have to be within time. But the CPS guidance (kindly provided by Rookie) demonstrated the right way to go. That is effectively what the situation is; there is no need to raise a fresh charge but the original one must be no more than six months old when the withdrawal is to reversed.


                        • #27

                          Plea of not guilty entered solicitor to the court & has sent letter to police asking them to drop charge over 6 month rule & charge reads wrong road. (on both sjps)
                          ​​​​​​​Solicitor states we should hear something back within 4 weeks from police, so it's a matter of waiting.


                          • #28
                            Hi Wheelie

                            Thanks for keeping us updated. Let us know the outcome.


                            • #29

                              letters sent to court/police 25th Jan pleading not guilty.

                              1st Feb received court letter 6 points £250 fine. Told solicitor said they can't do that as I pleaded not guilty.

                              Solicitor contacts courts asking for a case management hearing, this is set for 3rd March.
                              In the mean time points & fine will be struck off, this did happen.

                              2nd March solicitor receives email from Police:-

                              Following our conversation today, I write to confirm that I will not be continuing with the speeding matter against your client tomorrow afternoon.

                              The case appears to have been withdrawn at the Single Justice Procedure on 20th May, 2021. The Legal Advisor would normally endorse the record with the deficiency. The information would remain laid and the matter reissued if, for instance the address was wrong or there were errors on the charge sheet.

                              I see from the file that there is not sufficient evidence to substantiate the offence and it is for this reason that the case will be withdrawn. I acknowledge that the matter has been reissued some time after the ‘withdrawal’ on 20th May.


                              only took 16 months.


                              • #30
                                Well Done!

                                Thanks for letting us know. It is interesting that they made no mention of the fact that it could not be resurrected because of the six month rule. But it seems, from what they have written, that there was insufficient evidence to convict you anyway and that's the reason for the original withdrawal. Seems a complete cods up all round. Glad it (eventually) turned out OK.


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