When someone is charged with a minor motoring offence, a low level speeding offence for example, the last thought on anyone’s mind is that they are going to be sent to prison. There are, however, occasions when seemingly minor ‘white lies’ or falsehoods can take what would have been a three penalty point offence and end up landing you behind bars!
This is when charges for ‘perverting the course of justice’ are brought against you. As defined within the law, perverting the course of justice is “the act of doing something which interferes with the justice system, such as fabricating or disposing of evidence, intimidating or threatening a witness or juror, intimidating or threatening a judge”.
Common scenarios that result in the bringing of this charge are:
- Making a false allegation.
- Giving false evidence (perjury).
- Obstructing the police in their investigation.
- Concealing the fact that an offence has been committed.
- Assisting a person to evade arrest.
- Failing to prosecute an offence.
- Interfering with evidence, witnesses or jurors.
- Publishing material that could prejudice a fair trial.
- Indemnifying or procuring sureties.
In a motoring context, one of the most common examples of a perverting the course of justice risk is that of providing a false nomination.
When someone receives an Initial Notice of Intended Prosecution, the purpose of the attached s.172 request for driver details is to confirm who in fact was driving at the time a possible offence was committed. There are situations when you are genuinely unaware of who was driving in which case you need to make your own enquiries to find out and then provide the Traffic Enforcement Unit with all the information you have. It is your responsibility as the registered keeper to provide these details.
However, if you already have nine penalty points, if you are within the two year probationary period or simply if you’re looking for a quick and easy way of avoiding some pesky penalty points, many individuals have made a false nomination of the driver, often a partner or relative.
This is dangerous territory! A recent example of the consequences of falsely nominating a driver is that of Fiona Onasanya MP who received a three month prison sentence after informing Police that a man called Aleks Antipow had in fact been driving her vehicle at the time of a speeding offence. Her brother was also culpable in the commission of this offence as well as that of two other speeding offences that he had avoided responsibility for – he ultimately received a 10 month prison sentence.
Even if you are not charged with perverting the course of justice, other consequences of providing false nominations are potentially getting hit with additional charges such as driving without insurance or permitting driving without insurance. This will frequently happen if it is not apparent that the nominated driver is insured on your vehicle and it can land you in a sticky situation if you try and explain your way out of it at Court.
Our advice is to THINK before you NOMINATE but if you have ended up in a situation like this then contact our leading motorist defence team for assistance on 0800 046 3066