I read John Whitmore’s letter with interest and sympathy.
I think one reason for the occasional motorist getting a raw deal in court, is that the deciding of whether, or not, an offence has been committed is in the hands of the chief constable of police. Once the constable on the beat, or in the car, is committed by his superior, he has to make the best case he can, often at the motorist’s expense, in order to impress or in some cases not to incur the wrath of his chief.
If, however, this decision of whether an offence has been committed or not were to lay in the hands of the director of public prosecutions, or similar person, as I believe civil actions do, there would be less injustice towards the motorist.
T. A. Airey.
On May 18th ’62, Tommy Steele, driving his Jaguar on the M1, overtook a car on the near side. Stopped by Police he admitted the offence, so the case was not very complicated. Over 3 calendar months later in the last days of August he was fined £15. On Aug. 10th last, I was involved in an accident in N. London, and shortly afterwards received a “notice of intended prosecution.” It was not until almost 5 calendar months later, and following on a “chaser” from me, that I was convicted of careless driving—also £15.
Is it not absolutely scandalous that people should have the threat of police court proceedings hanging over their heads for several months on end?
I suggest it is high time that certain persons got their fingers out and got on top of their work. Though an obvious aid to the solution would be to cut out the many trivial and often idiotic prosecutions of motorists, of which each week brings its examples.
I’m sure there must be magistrates among your readers, it would be most interesting to hear their points of view on your recent editorial—if any one dare give it!
K. D. Harding.