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Speeding, Kirkcaldy, 24 July 2017, Not Guilty

This case called for trial on 24 July 2017 at Kirkcaldy Justice of the Peace Court.

Unusually for speeding in Scotland (where drivers are usually stopped by the police at the time or have identified themselves as the driver in response to a legal request) identification in this case was in dispute.

Our client stated to us that he was not the driver of the car. He believed that someone else with access to the car must have been driving and given the police his name. It is an essential element of the Crown case against someone to prove that they are in fact the person who committed the offence. The main problem here is something called “dock ID”. The most common way an accused person is identified is when in the dock at court. The witnesses are asked to look around the court and see if they see the person whom they believe committed the alleged offence. Of course the person in the dock may as well have a big red arrow above their head and a “choose me” sign hanging around their neck!

In these types of case, all that the defence can do to avoid such an unfair situation is request that the Crown hold an ID parade. If the Crown refuse to do so, the defence can petition the court to compel the Crown to do so (Criminal Procedure (Scotland) Act 1995, section 290). In this case the Crown refused to hold an ID parade and argued against our petition for one to be held. The court agreed with us. The ID parade was held and the two police officers proceeded to identify our client with little or no hesitation!

The case proceeded to trial anyway although it was anticipated that the main defences would now be technical in nature. The police in this case had used a Unipar SL700 laser gun. This is a device approved by the Home Office on the basis of its supposed reliability. In the course of evidence, however, we raised a legal objection to the admissibility of certain evidence related to the gun. The court agreed and the Procurator Fiscal thereafter led no further evidence. Our client was found Not Guilty.

This case was prepared and defended by Steven Farmer on 24 July 2017 at Kirkcaldy Justice of the Peace Court.