Crown Prosecution Service withdraw allegation at 11th hour – after rejecting initial representations….

This was a case handled by Ria Pleass under the supervision of Emma Patterson.

Our client was summonsed for failing to provide driver identity.

He did not receive the original Notice or the reminder that was sent to him and had problems receiving his mail in the past. He sought legal advice from a local firm of solicitors who did not specialise in Road Traffic Law.

The Solicitor initially attempted to persuade the CPS to withdraw the case on the basis that the client did not receive the Notice of Intended Prosecution or the request for driver identity that was attached. This was the correct thing to do.

However, after being wrongly “advised” by the CPS (defence lawyers should not need to take advice from the prosecution) that there was an irrefutable presumption of service of the NIP (and therefore the request for driver identity which was on the same form), the Solicitor advised our client that he did not have a defence?

The issue of the presumption of service is only relevant to the service of the NIP. A NIP not being served is only a defence to the speeding matter – which our client had never been charged with! The only relevant issue here was whether or not our client had received the request to provide driver identity – which he didn’t.

Without taking our clients instructions, the Solicitor then attempted to agree a basis of plea with the CPS. He asked whether the CPS would withdraw the failing to provide information and said that the client would plead guilty to the speeding offence in return. The client had never been summonsed for speeding and the prosecution were outside of the 6 month limitation period to be able to lay an information for a new offence!

We received instructions to act a week before trial. We made strenuous representations to the CPS outlining the client’s defence to the s172 allegation, under s.172(7)(b) and as an aside showing them that there is a rebuttable presumption of service relating to first class post.

We also explained to the Prosecutor that the client could not plead guilty to speeding as he had not been summonsed for this offence.

The Prosecutor accepted that they did not have a realistic prospect of securing a conviction and withdrew the case. An application for costs was granted and the client was reimbursed his legal fees. Happy client.

This is what our client wrote to us after the case;

“Hi Ria – Thank you for the cheque, It was delivered to the neigbours house by mistake. Strangly as well, my driving licence got lost in the post after the court posted it back. Can I say thanks for all you’ve done what an amazing difference between your team and Mortons. I’ve told all my friends about the way you’ve dealt with everything and I’m sure if they need they will be in touch.”