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England and Wales High Court (Administrative Court) Decisions
You are here: BAILII >> Databases >> England and Wales High Court (Administrative Court) Decisions >> Martin v Harrow Crown Court  EWHC 3193 (Admin) (07 December 2007)
Cite as:  EWHC 3193 (Admin)
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QUEEN'S BENCH DIVISION
London WC2A 2LL
B e f o r e :
MR JUSTICE HENRIQUES
|HARROW CROWN COURT||Defendant|
WordWave International Limited
A Merrill Communications Company
190 Fleet Street London EC4A 2AG
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(Official Shorthand Writers to the Court)
Mr P Wauchope (instructed by CPS) appeared on behalf of the Interested Party
Crown Copyright ©
"3. The appellant was represented by counsel who informed the court from the outset that she was partially deaf and without her glasses. It became apparent during the appeal that counsel's disabilities were significant. She was unable to hear the evidence at times and on others misunderstood what the witnesses had said and as a result counsel repeatedly misheard what evidence had been given. There were repeated occasions during the hearing when counsel informed the court that she was unable to hear.
4. There was no evidence before the court that a reasonable bench properly directed could conclude that the prosecution had not proved their case, beyond reasonable doubt that section 82(1) and 85 of the Road Traffic Regulation Act 1984 that Park View Road was a restricted road.
5. The appropriate certificates were provided to the court to indicate that the instrument used to measure the appellant's speed was of a type approved by the Secretary of State and all conditions subject to which approval was given were satisfied. This was a point not apparent to counsel until she called for the certificate to be produced and it was provided to her by the officer.
6. Another point that counsel took was that the officer had not personally measured the distance between the trees, along the relevant stretch of road to ascertain whether it was a restricted road. This point had no merit at all. The definition of restricted road is provided statute and case law. It was not necessary for the officer to personally measure the distance from tree to tree.
7. This application is without merit and is misconceived and I have previously stated my reasons."
81(1) It shall not be lawful for a person to drive a motor vehicle on a restricted road at a speed exceeding 30 miles per hour.
82(1) subject to the provisions of this section ... a road is a restricted road for the purposes of section 81 of this Act if-
(a) in England and Wales, there is provided on it a system of street lighting furnished by means of lamps placed not more than 200 yards apart ...
85(5) In any proceedings for a contravention of section 81 of this Act, where the proceedings relate to driving on a road provided with such a system of street or carriageway lighting, evidence of the absence of traffic signs displayed in pursuance of this section to indicate that the road is not a restricted road for the purposes of that section shall be evidence that the road is a restricted road for those purposes."
"This was in a 30 mile an hour zone."
He was cross-examined on this point by Miss Calder, and it is necessary to read some extracts from the transcript. I start at page 29B:
"Q: Well, I don't accept that it's a 30 mile an hour limit unless you tell me what, why do you say it's a 30 mile an hour road?
A: Because the lampposts, the Highway Code refers to the lampposts being less than 200 yards apart and no other sign being present. If there is no other sign present then it's a 30 mile an hour road. There are probably signs at the entrance to the road and if not the signs will go back to the entrance of the last road. It's not a requirement to have 30 mile an hour speed limit signs there.
RECORDER BRISCOE: What do you say the speed limit is of this particular road?
Q: I don't, I don't say what the speed limit is."
I interpolate, it says "Q" but that is an "A" given by counsel.
"RECORDER BRISCOE: Well, if you're saying it's not 30 miles an hour, what do you say the speed limit is of that road? Please.
Q: Is it the prosecution's case ...
RECORDER BRISCOE. No, it's not. I am asking you to assist myself and my colleagues with what you say the speed limit is of that road if it is not 30 miles per hour.
Q: I am challenging that it is 30 miles an hour.
RECORDER BRISCOE: Yes, I appreciate that. But you put, I'm only going to ask once more ...
Q: I have reason to put that, madam.
RECORDER BRISCOE: You have put ...
Q: I mean, sorry, your Honour.
RECORDER BRISCOE: ... you have challenged that it is not 30 miles an hour.
RECORDER BRISCOE: Now, what does you client say the speed limit is?
Q: What I'm asking the officer to tell me is how did he, how does he know it's a 30 mile an hour road?
RECORDER BRISCOE: Is it in dispute that it is 30 miles an hour?
Q: Everything's in dispute madam. Sorry, I just, I was in the Magistrates' Court yesterday. Your Honour, everything, all, everything is at issue in the case.
RECORDER BRISCOE: Would you just give me a moment, please? (pause) Well, we seek clarification, please, because if it is being challenged that this was a 30 mile an hour restriction on that road, we would like to know what your client thought the speed limit was on that day.
Q: The officer said it's a 30 mile an hour, at the moment we're going through the prosecution case. He said it's a 30 mile an hour, you will hear our case when it comes, your Honour, but the prosecution, the officer started out by saying it was a 30 mile an hour limit, and I'm asking him how he knows that.
RECORDER BRISCOE: You see, we're asking for clarification for this reason. Of course, if your client was of the belief that it, that the speed limit was in excess of 30 miles in relation to that road, then irrespective of the shake of the pro-laser he was still speeding if he believed that it was, that the restriction on the road was in excess of 30 miles an hour. So ...
Q: What I would ask ...
RECORDER BRISCOE: ... would you please clarify ...
Q: Yes. Your Honour, what I would ask is if you could bear with me on this point and you will see how it will, how it turns out, if I could ask you on that.
RECORDER BRISCOE: I'll speak to my colleagues, please. (pause) Right. My colleagues and I would like you, please, to tell us what you, your client thought the speed limit was of that road.
Q: We don't have to prove anything. All I can say is on that, the prosecution bring the case it is for them to prove ...
RECORDER BRISCOE: Is it ...
Q: ... Your Honour. And it is not for me to prove anything ...
RECORDER BRISCOE: Yes.
Q: ... at all.
RECORDER BRISCOE: Is it the case that your ...
Q: And it's not helping my case if, if you ask me to out of turn to sort of give information, because as you said earlier I can't give evidence anyway.
RECORDER BRISCOE: No, you can't. But the fact of the matter is you put to this officer that it was not a 30 mile an hour speed limit. We the court have asked you to assist us on what your client thought that the speed limit was on the day. You've not been able to assist us and we cannot take it any further.
Q: Thank you. So you said it was a 30 mile an hour limit you think for what reason? What were the reasons you gave?
A: Because it's a residential street for a start, lampposts are likely to be less than 200 yards apart ...
Q: Sorry, did you say they're likely to be less than ...
A: Yes, I didn't measure them.
Q: So you don't know?
A: I don't know whether the lampposts were less than 200 yards apart, no.
Q: So you've taken it for granted then?
A: The lampposts spacing is irrelevant. It's a 30 miles an hour road.
Q: Sorry, if they are? If the lampposts are?
A: The Highway Code states that if, for a road to be designated a 30 mile an hour speed limit the lampposts, as a guide for drivers ... "
"Q: So that's the situation here then, is it? You're saying that there wasn't a sign saying 30 mile an hour limit, but the fact is there are the lampposts that are less than 200 yards apart?
A: I haven't said that there weren't any 30 mile an hour speed limit signs. Looking at Hillcrest Road at the top of the map which is a 30, looking at Woodville Gardens at the bottom of the map which is also a 30, I would say it's probably unlikely that you would get a 30 mile an hour zone as you entered, sorry, a 30 mile sign as you entered Parkview Road, but I don't know.
Q: So you're really talking about 30 mile an hour signs then, but you wouldn't expect one, you don't recall one and you don't expect there was a 30 mile an hour sign, is that right?
A: That is a summary of what I just said, yes.
Q: Yes. But there are lampposts.
Q: You didn't make any notes of any lampposts at all?
A: As you can see, I didn't, no. I didn't feel it necessary to note the lampposts, presence of.
Q: Because we put it to you that it's not correct that there are lampposts that are less than 200 yards apart.
A: But I haven't actually said there were. I said I don't know.
Q: You don't know.
Q: So you're saying then that, you're saying then that you had made the assumption.
A: I'm saying that it was a 30 miles an hour zone.
Q: Yes, you assumed, you don't, you didn't, if you're saying that the lampposts have to be less that 200 yards apart you don't know whether they're, about the lampposts, you're really saying you've assumed it's a 30 mile an hour zone.
A: Well, I haven't assumed. I know the road to be a 30 mile an hour zone.
Q: But you don't know about the lampposts.
A: I haven't measured the lampposts. I know that it's a 30 mile an hour zone.
Q: And it's put you to that there is not there a system of lampposts which are 200 yards, less than 200 yards apart.
A: I can't answer that, your Honour, because I don't know. I haven't measured how far apart the lampposts are. I know it's a 30 mile an hour speed limit restriction.
Q: Let's see what else you told us. (pause) You said that this was an approved device?"
"Q: The police officer said that he assumed that ... I'll just find the relevant place ... it was likely that there were lampposts up there less than 200 yards apart. Do you agree that's the case?
Q: Can you tell me if ... there, well, can you tell me why you don't agree then?
A: Why I, actually because obviously I've been very strongly about this case, I've actually checked a couple myself and, and there's at least a couple that I've checked which actually far exceed that measurement.
Q: Can you give any measurement of any lampposts?
A: Well, one of the ones that I remember off the top of my head from the notes I took because I've been, it's been an ongoing thing, was if I recall it was 240 yards.
Q: And the whole street is only 540 is it, so that's quite ...
"RECORDER BRISCOE: I think you will find that the evidence that the officer gave when he was asked about it on a number of occasions was that it is a residential street, lamp posts are less than 200 feet apart.
MS CALDER: Sorry, he said?
RECORDER BRISCOE: Yes. The evidence from the officer, my note, I will read it, and then I will read my colleague's, is this: 'It is a residential street, the lamp posts are less than 200.' That is my note, and my colleague's note is: 'It is a residential street. The lamp posts are likely to be less than 200 feet apart.'"
"The officer's evidence was that this was a residential street. It was a very wide road, and the speed restriction was 30 miles per hour.
The officer was asked about the lamp posts, and he said that the lamp post distance was less than 200 feet apart. It is correct, that when the matter was referred to again, the officer said that it was likely to be less than 200 feet."
"We find as a fact that: ... (2) That this was a residential street, and that that residential street comes within section 81(1) and 89(1) of the Road Traffic Regulations. (3) Although it is right that the measurements were not taken by the officer between the lamp posts, we are satisfied that this evidence was credible and compelling evidence. That is, namely; that the lamp posts were less than, or likely to be less than 200 feet. Therefore, the appeal is dismissed."