South West magistrates Court finds that farmer’s field used as a fee paying car park in the summer is not a public place!
We were prepared to defend our client’s alleged driving without due care and attention on all grounds, but when it came down to it at court we didn’t have to!
The magistrates agreed that our client was not guilty based simply on the fact that the field where the alleged incident took place was not a public place.
The law in relation to driving without due care and attention applies to incidents on a public road, or in a public place. This incident occurred in a field owned by a farmer that was used as a car park during the summer months.
The allegation was that when our client refused to pay the fee demanded she asked to turn around. She had approached the car park down a winding country lane. There was a big queue behind her. The farmer would not let her enter the land to allow her to turn around and leave. There was no where in the lane to turn around and our client was effectively held to ransom. She had no choice but to pull into the field and when she did so the farmer closed the gate behind her to try and stop her leaving without paying.
Our client drove forward towards the gate and was accused of causing the farmer to fall to the ground! She denied this and denied that her standard of driving was not good enough.
The case was short and swift “It’s not a public place!” agreed the magistrates. The moment the farmer closed the gate it became a private place – so none of the issues had to be decided.
A defendant’s costs order has been granted in our client’s favour. Good result and well done to Ria Pleass, our brilliant Law Graduate who prepared the case for trial.