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.





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Tuesday, 6 December 2016

DRIVING OFFENCES//THE TOTALITY PRINCIPLE

Currently the fixed penalty for using a mobile phone whilst driving is 3 penalty points and a £100 fine.  For driving without insurance an offender can be fined up to £5000 in court and be subject to 6-8 penalty points or even a driving disqualification of up to 12 months if there are severe aggravating circumstances. Indeed the penalty for mobile phone use will be increased next year to 6 penalty points and a fine of £200.  When it comes to sentencing offenders for multiple driving offences in actual practice benches are ordered to use the principle of totality.  In effect the most serious offence is the one on which punishment is based and other offences are treated as "aggravating".  The logic of this approach has always defeated me when one offence does not follow from another; i.e. the offences are quite dissimilar.  Using a mobile phone when driving and having no insurance compounded by not having a suitable driving license or MOT fall into this category.  

Today the Scunthorpe Telegraph reported the following case from North Lincolnshire Magistrates` Court:- " SIMONAS MILIAUSKAS , 26, of Frodingham Road, Scunthorpe, pleaded guilty to driving while using a hand-held mobile phone, using a vehicle without insurance and driving otherwise than in accordance with a licence. He was fined a total of £400, ordered to pay a victim surcharge of £40, costs of £85 and his driving record was endorsed with six points."

This is as perfect example of the totality principle as could be imagined. It demonstrates IMHO just why sometimes advice from Justices` Clerks is completely out of touch with reality and why they and their political masters are forever seeking approval from media as I posted yesterday on proposals to increase sentences for the most serious driving offences when they well know that in fact time served by those who will be  caught in this new legal net will be similar to the current situation.

 


1 comment:

  1. Why do you think there is a 12 month limit of disqualification for no insurance? As far as I understand it there are no such limits and have banned for longer than that (although never as I recall for a first offence).

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