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Last Updated: Tuesday, 16 March, 2004, 17:59 GMT
Speeding 'loophole' case rejected
Idris Francis
Idris Francis said he was "disappointed" by the decision
A speeding driver has lost his High Court fight to try to exploit a legal loophole.

Idris Francis was challenging his conviction for failing to sign a notice served on him for speeding.

His barristers argued his conviction should be quashed on a point of law - that there was no legal obligation for him to sign the form.

The judges rejected his appeal, saying they will give their reasons later.

Those of us in the (legal) profession, the police and the CPS thought it should be clarified one way or another
John Josephs
Mr Francis's solicitor
Mr Francis, a retired company director, was caught speeding on 11 March, 2003, on the A325 in Hampshire, by a speed camera.

When the case came to court, magistrates could not convict him of speeding, as he had not signed the form identifying himself as the driver - rendering it inadmissible in court.

Instead the vintage car owner, of West Meon, near Winchester, was fined 60 with 364 costs and given three penalty points on his licence for failing to identify the driver.

His barrister Mark Laprell told the court: "The issue in this case is causing some consternation up and down the country."

8,000 bill

During the hearing, Christopher Parker, counsel for the chief constable, told the judges: "This case hinges on the question of whether it is reasonable for a chief constable to require a form to be signed when requiring information about a driver.

"He does need to know the identity of the person returning the form whether it is the driver or any other person.

"In addition the chief constable can quite properly require that the form should be signed, knowing that if it is signed by the driver it can subsequently be used in evidence."

Mr Francis's solicitor, John Josephs, told BBC News Online that at the time of the original trial it was understood the verdict would be appealed and become a test case.

"Those of us in the (legal) profession, the police and the CPS thought it should be clarified one way or another," he confirmed.

He said the loophole had been well known for three years.

After the appeal was dismissed, Mr Francis, who now faces a legal bill of around 8,000, said he was "disappointed".

His lawyer claimed several thousand more drivers around the country were awaiting the outcome of Mr Francis's case.

Mr Francis, who has campaigned against speed cameras, has previously pledged to take his conviction for a motoring offence by magistrates at Guildford, Surrey, to the European Court of Human Rights.



Solicitor slated for speed advice
11 Mar 04  |  Derbyshire


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