Now that I am retired having been many years a magistrate with a long awareness of the declining freedoms enjoyed by the ordinary citizen and a corresponding fear of the big brother state`s ever increasing encroachment on civil liberties I hope that my personal observations within these general parameters will be of interest to those with an open mind. Having been blogging with this title for many years against the rules of the Ministry of Justice my new found freedom should allow me to be less inhibited in these observations.

Comments are usually moderated. However, I do not accept any legal responsibility for the content of any comment. If any comment seems submitted just to advertise a website it will not be published.

Thursday, 19 September 2013


I think it is fair to say that for most honest and good citizens, i.e. without a record with the Police National Computer, it is when driving that contact is made with the law. Aside from anything else that is why it is imperative that police officers behave with the utmost civility when stopping drivers. Probably most do but we all have heard tell when they do not. Be that as it may in 2009 153,000 defendants were summonsed to court for speeding offences. In 2010 986,700 fixed penalty notices were issued for speeding. Fines and penalty points for speeding are calculated according to income and the recorded speed. The maximum recorded speed for the purposes of punishment has been fixed for umpteen years at 110 MPH. In simple terms that means that driving at that speed attracts the same punishment level as driving at 150 MPH or more. Others like myself who have driven in countries with no speed limit at very high speeds (in my case 200KPH) will be only too aware of the changing dynamics of a car at those speeds. There is no doubt in my mind that the Sentencing Guidelines should be updated to factor in the increased performance of even the most basic vehicles including motor bikes in the last 15-20 years. 

Last week Inspector Paul Cording, of North Yorkshire Police’s Roads Policing Group, said with reference to a speeder, “This sentence is a clear demonstration of the determination of all those in the criminal justice system to keep the roads in North Yorkshire as safe as possible. Barton’s speed was completely unacceptable and utterly reckless. It is simply not something we will tolerate. He not only put his own life at risk, Barton endangered the safety of other road users. Anyone caught using the roads of North Yorkshire as a racetrack should expect to face the same punishment when they are caught”. The offender, a Mr Barton, was caught riding his bike at 135 MPH on the A1. The report indicates his driving ban was for 56 days; the maximum available. He could have been given six penalty points and been a six months banned totter if he had had six points already on his license but that was a choice for the bench which had all the facts and circumstances placed before it. In the light of such speeding offences the cut off penalty at 110 MPH surely should be amended.

1 comment:

  1. """
    Barton’s speed was completely unacceptable and utterly reckless. It is simply not something we will tolerate. He not only put his own life at risk, Barton endangered the safety of other road users.

    If true, then that would support a charge of dangerous driving. It seems the prosecution chose not to put evidence of this recklessness and dangerousness before the court.

    Speeding may be dangerous depending on the road, the conditions, the presence of other vehicles or pedestrians and other considerations, but it is not automatically dangerous. Even 135 mph may not rise to the level of dangerousness on an empty, straight, triple-carriageway motorway.

    Speeding simple is prohibited under penalty, in the public interest. It is not, as Wright J put it, "criminal in any real sense". Dangerous driving however is, since it amounts to gross negligence. If the prosecution felt that the driver's conduct was dangerous they should have charged appropriately and brought evidence to support the charge.

    It is that decision which should be criticised, rather than the current law, which is perfectly capable of handling reckless and dangerous behaviour of all types.