Driving while using a mobile phone, Peterhead, 16 January 2018, Not Guilty
This case called for trial at Peterhead Justice of the Peace Court.
The police evidence was standard fare for this type of case. The police had taken up a position adjacent to the roadside which afforded them – they claimed – an excellent view. The police stated they were there for one reason alone – to watch out for people driving while using a mobile phone. They both claimed to have seen our client drive past using a mobile phone while driving his articulated lorry. They both stated they saw him with his right hand to his right ear. They both said that they saw his lips moving as if in conversation. Finally our client allegedly admitted, whilst under caution, that he was driving while using a mobile phone.
Our client denied using his phone in an illegal manner. His position was that he was using Bluetooth. He claimed that he told the police this and that his “confession” was nothing of the sort. He claimed to be resting his right arm against the winThiddow and accepted that the police would have seen him engaged in conversation. As it is not illegal to use your phone in a hands-free capacity, on our client’s version of events, he was not guilty.
Cases like this are always difficult. It is usually the word of two police officers against the word of the accused (and sometimes not even that if the accused tells us they are guilty, meaning they cannot give evidence). It is necessary, therefore, to forensically dissect the police evidence. How good is their view? What did they actually see – if they claimed the person was holding the phone, the majority would be obscured by the accused’s hand? The vehicle they saw was moving, not stationary. That must affect the quality of the view. How far from the road were they? In this case. the second police officer eventually admitted he “didn’t exactly see a phone but it was obvious what he was doing”. So what was that? Well it was obvious he was talking to someone on the phone.
That was enough for reasonable doubt as the evidence of the 2nd officer did not actually contradict our client’s own position. Not Guilty.
This case was defended by Steven Farmer on 16 January 2018 at Peterhead Justice of the Peace Court.