Our client had been charged with an offence of driving whilst disqualified.
He had previously pleaded guilty to an offence of driving without insurance via post. His sentencing hearing took place in his absence and he was sentenced to a fine and 6 points on his licence. As our client already had points on his licence, he was disqualified from driving for 6 months as a totter. A short time after this, our client was arrested for driving whilst disqualified. Whilst he accepted that he had been driving, he denied that he had any knowledge of the disqualification. This however, is not a defence.
Nonetheless, at our client’s first appearance, we made an application to adjourn his hearing so that we could make representations to the prosecution that it was not in the interests of justice to proceed with this matter. After considering our submissions, the Court agreed. We subsequently made representations to the Crown, however, they maintained that it was in the interests of justice to prosecute our client for this offence. Despite this, we requested a further adjournment so that we could re-open our client’s conviction for driving without insurance. The Court agreed with our submissions.
We assisted our client in making an application to re-open his conviction and after considering the case, the Court set aside his conviction. He re-entered his guilty plea and received the same sentence as before however, this meant that the disqualification period from the date of this hearing. Accordingly, he was no longer “disqualified” at the time in which he was stopped by the police for the offence of driving whilst disqualified. We subsequently wrote to the Crown with a copy of the result of the hearing and they promptly discontinued the case.
If our client had pleaded guilty to this offence, the starting point would have been 12 weeks immediate imprisonment. In addition, he would be facing an additional disqualification period of 12 – 18 months.
Our client was represented by Sabrina Neves of our East Dulwich Office.