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Motoring Offences.

Oral Answers to Questions — Transport. – in the House of Commons on 26th November 1936.

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Photo of Sir John Mellor Sir John Mellor , Tamworth

asked the Home Secretary whether he will take steps to secure that notice shall be given to persons whom the police intend to charge with motoring offences as soon as is practicable after the alleged commission of an offence?

Photo of Mr John Simon Mr John Simon , Spen Valley

Parliament has dealt with this matter, as my hon. Friend knows, in Section 21 of the Road Traffic Act, 1930, and I have no reason to doubt that chief officers of police are fully aware of and comply with this provision.

Photo of Sir John Mellor Sir John Mellor , Tamworth

Is my right hon. Friend aware that defendants are frequently seriously embarrassed in their defence through not receiving any notice that a charge will be preferred until a considerable time after the date of the alleged offence?

Photo of Mr John Simon Mr John Simon , Spen Valley

I am sure that there is no deliberate intention to do that. If my hon. Friend will look at the terms of the Statute he will see what the provisions of the law are.

Photo of Captain William Strickland Captain William Strickland , Coventry

Has my right hon. Friend taken into consideration the silent trap by which, after a, lapse of a week, a man is expected to remember the pace at which he travelled over a measured distance during a period of one minute?

Photo of Sir John Mellor Sir John Mellor , Tamworth

asked the Home Secretary whether he will consider taking steps to provide that all motoring charges which render a defendant liable to an endorsement of his licence shall be tried by specially constituted courts?

Photo of Mr John Simon Mr John Simon , Spen Valley

Under Section 6 of the Road Traffic Act, 1930, the court before which a person is convicted of any criminal offence in connection with the driving of a motor vehicle (not being an offence under Part IV of the Act) may order particulars of the conviction to be endorsed on the offender's licence, and my hon. Friend's suggestion would, therefore, involve the hearing of nearly all such charges by specially constituted courts. I know of no sufficient reason for the adoption of any such proposal.

Photo of Sir John Mellor Sir John Mellor , Tamworth

Does not my right hon. Friend consider that it would be an advantage if the defendants in these alleged motoring offences could be tried by benches of magistrates who are themselves qualified drivers?

Photo of Mr John Simon Mr John Simon , Spen Valley

I think the question which is at issue in these cases is a very proper one to be dealt with by ordinary justices. After all, the court has to consider the interests of the public as well as of motorists.