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 If any comment seems submitted just to advertise a website it will not be published.

Wednesday, 14 December 2016


It is not unlikely that with increased connectivity as standard equipment  in cars,  using a mobile phone when driving is an offence that will diminish over the next decade unless legislation changes and  remote use is also banned. My son`s three year old Golf has mobile connectivity built in. I had to have installed a commercially available system on my 20 year old Mercedes. Be that as it may there are still offenders who reject a fixed penalty and appropriate penalty points to try their luck in court.  Figures from 2010-2014 are interesting

Simple analysis shows that around one fifth of those caught opted for a not guilty plea in court assuming that rarely did somebody go to court to plead guilty. I have no figures for those in that category who might have pleaded special reasons.  

Many organisations; motoring and others complain of the inactivity of police for the apparent reduction in FPNs for use of a mobile phone when driving.  Could it not be as per my opening sentence that improved technology is the real reason that drivers appear to be talking and driving?  We have all heard stories in court of police evidence of sudden movement of mobiles from hand to elsewhere in a vehicle............

1 comment:

  1. The case that springs to mind is Special Constable Collette Carpenter who escaped any prosecution after pulling out on and being involved in a fatal collision with a motorcyclist. After initially denying using her phone, she later "recalled" (when shown the call log) that she had indeed been on an extended call at the time, but that (her memory crystallising rapidly) it had been on her lap, and was never at any time held in her hand. Of course.

    Conversely, Sarah McCaffery (not a police constable) was convicted of not in proper control for eating an apple, her prosecution involving the local force revisiting the scene to film it from both car and helicopter.

    Or Elsa Harris (also not a police constable) who committed the heinous crime of peeling a banana in her car while it was stopped in a traffic jam. After declining to contribute to the local force coffers by attending a driver awareness course, she was prosecuted for (just for variety) driving without due care and attention.

    The specific offence of using a hand held phone or device is neither sufficient nor necessary for prosecution or conviction. One could infer that it rather depends on who you are, or are not, rather than what you have done.