Mr X was caught speeding at 66mph in a 40mph limit. For that speed he would be a risk of receiving six penalty points – but because it was within the first two years of passing his test he was also at risk of losing his licence. Any driver who accumulates six points within those first two years has their licence revoked, resulting in them going back to a provisional licence and needing to retake both parts of their driving test.
A few months after being recorded speeding, Mr X received a Single Justice Procedure Notice – Court papers asking him to plead guilty or not guilty.
Before instructing Patterson Law, Mr X pleaded guilty to the speeding offence online and requested a Court hearing. He wanted to have the opportunity to go to court and tried to persuade them not to revoke him. But instead he later received a notice stating that the Court had simply sentenced him in his absence to six penalty points.
Obviously this was a Court error. Any person in response to court papers can specifically request that the Court do not deal with their case in absence and instead request hearing for them to attend.
The case should have been reopened to allow him his lawful right to have a day in Court. Indeed, he requested reopening but was not getting anywhere So he instructed Patterson Law.
Immediately we re-submitted his application to reopen the proceedings and pushed for a listing. Once we had the case listed, we prepared our mitigation. In Court, we managed to persuade the court to award a short discretionary disqualification instead of the penalty points. The difficulty in this case is that if the court awarded points, revocation is automatic. The court have no power to award penalty points but not revoke the licence. As soon as the points are put on the licence, the DVLA will automatically revoke. The only way around that is by trying to persuade the courts to give a short ban for the offence instead of the points.
So after preparing his robust mitigation we then put forward the arguments in court in order to persuade them to disqualify him instead of points. And after hearing his mitigation the Court were indeed persuaded – giving him just a 2 day ban! That meant he was off the road for just a couple of days before he got his licence back.
The Case Progression Officer in this matter was our Ashleigh Hannan. Ashleigh believes this was the correct decision. “He had been sentenced in absence due to a court error when he stated clearly on the Single Justice Procedure response that he wanted to present his mitigating circumstances. No mitigation was included in his SJP response because of this so nothing was considered when sentencing administratively.”
“He lost his job due to the revocation and had to take up the only job he could access, which was physically demanding. His physical health was deteriorating, as was his mental health. He could no longer care for his mother and take her to her appointments. He was applying to become a HGV driver which collapsed as well. He had been punished enough and the Court were correct to reverse the decision and award a discretionary ban”.