Clause 2

Part of Road Safety Bill – in a Public Bill Committee at 2:30 pm on 20th January 2005.

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Photo of Mr David Jamieson Mr David Jamieson Parliamentary Under-Secretary, Department for Transport 2:30 pm, 20th January 2005

The same would apply to anybody who committed any offence in any shape or form. If one felt aggrieved, one would take advice. Then, if it was appropriate, one would go to the court. However, that applies not just to motoring offences or tickets but to virtually every offence.

I hope that that brings the hon. Gentleman some comfort. There would have to be special circumstances. One could not simply say, ''Oh, I didn't   see the sign'' or ''I hadn't realised that the speed limit had changed'', when manifestly the limiter signs were in place.

There is one defence that people have used to have a ticket overturned. The hon. Member for Christchurch gave an example whereby a speed limit had been changed on a road. If somebody could demonstrate to the court that the road had not been sufficiently signed within the law, that would be a strong defence in the court. The case could then be dismissed and the ticket thrown out. However, somebody would have to demonstrate that, and I believe that, on occasions, they have. Certainly in the 30mph zone, people have sometimes shown that the legal designation of the limit had not been met and got their tickets overturned. There are probably not many occasions when that is possible. The risk is that unless one's evidence is very good, one may go to the court and find, as many people do, that the fixed penalty tends to be the lowest penalty that can be given and one leaves the court with a higher penalty, but that is the hazard of going to court.