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Remove the “conditional offer” of self incrimination

Comment 11th July 2010

In the event of an alleged motoring offence (eg Safety camera evidence fo speeding), the Notice of Intended Prosecution gives an option of recieving a penalty and points "where there is evidence on an offence". RTA legislation allows the accused to pay the fine and take points on their license. In many cases, as this is the easiest route, even those who may not have been speeding will accept these penalties.

They have, in effect, been induced to admit to a crime they may not truly believe they have commited. To use a personal example, my choice was to accept the £60 and 3 points for an incident I would like to have contested, but would have lost at least a day's pay , far greater than the £60, and due to other personal circumstances, do not wish to put my partner through the stress of a court appearance.

The conditional offer is a pernicious route to revenue gathering and admission to guilt without trial – NOT in the spirit of innocent until proved gulity or proof beyond all reasonable doubt.

If we truly believe a breach of the law has been committed, then a court appearance should be the only route to levying any form of penalty. The conditional offer is tantamount to demanding money with menaces, and where the offer is accepted, if the accused has any doubt as to theri guilt, iis effectively equal to an inducement to perjury. 

If this  change represents an increase in overall cost to the state, it should be accompanied by an increase in penalties to cover this cost – the consequence of this change in legislation would therefore reduce unjustified penaly of the innocent, and raise the level of financial penalty for true motoring offences to a meaningful level, rather than the current token sums usually  levied.

Why does this matter?

This proposal returns mamangement of alleged motoring offences to be within the spirit of the law:

Alleged crimesa are tried in a court

Accused are innocent until proved guilty

Individuals should not be corerced to imply their own guilt by offering an "easy" solution

If we believe an offence is significant enough for a penalty to be enforced, it should be more than a toekn (eg £60) sum, which to most individuals who can afford to runa car is negigible.

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