My own first-time experience of Magistrates’ Court penalisation, and completely blame-free involvement in a fairly heavy shunt, may serve to illustrate the puzzling inconsistency of Britain’s legal and police processes.
Six months ago, I fell foul of an Essex police radar trap—doing an inexcusable 56 m.p.h. in a 30 m.p.h. road, albeit with no danger and very little traffic at the time. For this first-ever offence in 39 years of motoring I was fined £35 . . .
A year ago, while driving across a signal-controlled road junction in Teddington, with the signals in my favour, another motorist ignored the red light against him, hurtled across the junction at around 40 m.p.h. and slammed into the side of my 24-hour-old Capri. Quick reaction and good steering saved me from being shunted into a head-on collision, and the (very confused) offender could offer no explanation. Having two independent, voluntary witnesses, and a lot of damage to be put right, I reported the accident to the police and suggested that the light-jumper be prosecuted for dangerous driving. Long statements were taken, forms filled in, etc., with the result—that nothing has happened since, and, presumably, the culprit escaped without penalty.
One can only assume that the law-enforcers of Middlesex and Essex work from opposite ends of the book, and that the Teddington light-jumper might have gone down for life if he had been hauled up before the Grays Magistrates!
(Name and address supplied.)