Following on from our previous blog last November in relation to defective speed limit signs on the variable speed limits between Junctions 7 and 9 of the M42 and M6 toll road, the Police and Crown Prosecution Service have since decided to withdraw all pending prosecutions relating to alleged speeding offences that had taken place on this section of road up to 27 November 2012 . The decision was taken after it accepted that speed limit signs in place did not comply with the necessary regulations prior to that date.
So what about all those drivers who have been convicted of speeding offences on this section of the road during the same period? There are likely to thousands of drivers who, in good faith, have accepted fixed penalties or pleaded guilty in the Magistrates’ Court to speeding offences whilst completely unaware of the fact that the convictions were unlawful due to the defective speed limit signs.
Warwickshire Police has confirmed that, following legal advice, it has taken the view that it should have no impact on speeding cases dealt with by a guilty plea at the Magistrates’ Court or upon Conditional Offers of Fixed Penalty which have been accepted. However, the point was argued at Leamington Spa Crown Court on 22 March 2012 when the Crown Prosecution Service was represented by Andrew Perry of Road Safety Support Ltd (the police’s specialist “dream team” of speeding offence lawyers). Mr Perry argued that, in spite of the decision to withdraw all pending speeding prosecutions affected by the issue last year, the defective signage was of little consequence and the Courts should not reopen previous cases. It appeared that the prosecution was trying to “have its cake and eat it” by agreeing that the signage was defective and withdrawing pending prosecutions but also opposing the re-opening of speeding convictions that had already been through the Court before the issue came to light. His Honour Judge Orme ruled against the prosecution, stating that it was being necessarily awkward and pointing out the obvious unfairness caused by the position it had adopted. The Judge ruled that it would be unfair to deny those who had been wrongfully convicted the opportunity to apply to reopen their cases.
Over the last few months we have successfully defended numerous cases involving this issue and received enquiries from people who believe they may have been wrongfully prosecuted. If you believe you fall into this category and would like to discuss the possibility of applying to reopen your case call our office now on 0161 241 3322 or 08004334678.