James is a Partner and Head of the Dispute Resolution team and primarily handles commercial…View Profile View all
The litigation team at Schofield Sweeney has successfully defended a company faced with two separate prosecutions under s172(3) Road Traffic Act 1988.
S172(2) says that:
Schofield Sweeney’s client is an infrastructure company with a number of vehicles on the road at any one time. From time to time it receives requests under s172(3) and has in place a system for dealing with such requests promptly. However, it cannot control the vagaries of the postal service and although it completed and sent back answers to the requests in neither case did the reply form reach the police and 2 summonses were issued against the company.
Plea Forms were completed explaining the situation in each case but the police decided to persist with the prosecutions and both were set up for trial. Statements were prepared evidencing what the company had done in each case and trial were listed to be heard at York and Harrogate Magistrates’ Courts. At York, when confronted with the evidence, the Crown Prosecution Service lawyer offered no evidence and the case was dismissed. On the back of that the CPS was persuaded to drop the Harrogate case a few days before the trial date.
Whilst the company was left conviction free, it could not recover its costs of successfully defending the cases because a rule change in 2012 deprives acquitted corporate defendants of the ability to recover their costs out of central funds.
On a practical note: