Monday 29 June 2015

My Day in Court: The Fog Clears

Last week I attended court and at the time wrote a blog on the experience and the outcome, which for reasons I detail in that blog, I thought was wrong. It's well worth a read. I must admit my brain was pretty foggy when I wrote that blog as I had had a long day at court, had been questioned fairly vigorously, and had been on a bit of an emotional roller-coaster. That explains why I gloss over a lot of the detail in the blog as it was all a bit mixed up in my head.

It was only when I was heading home the next day that the fog lifted. I was cycling up Crow Road through Anniesland when I suddenly remembered probably the most crucial part of the trial. It hit me like a bit of a brick wall. I must admit when I got home I was pretty livid and as a result I took the weekend to chill out before writing about this. I didn't want to write it in anger.

If you look back at the trial blog, you'll see that the main issue was the identity of the vehicle. The magistrate had brought this up in the summation and effectively directed the defence to follow that line of defence. This was despite the fact that the driver was the only driver of this particular car and admitted driving along that road that evening at around that time, the fact that I shouted out the registration at the time of the incident (i.e. I witnessed it), the fact that the car appearance fitted the car that the registration matched (colour and general type) and the fact that the police, had they been asked, could have confirmed that the shape of the car from the back suggested it was an Audi.

Beyond, reasonable doubt?

However, my memory had cleared and I remembered something quite significant that happened during the trial.

As I was being shown the video the Procurator Fiscal (PF) asked me to recite the registration of the car in the video, and that I had had the incident with. I managed to recite the first four characters, but at that point my mind went blank, and I stumbled. I asked the PF if she could read back my statement to remind me (something I believe I am allowed to ask for). The PF started to look for it. As she did so the magistrate interrupted. He said something along the lines of...'this is not in dispute, is it?' First he looked at the PF and then the defence lawyer. The defence lawyer rose a little and said, 'it is not your honour'. As a result I was not asked to complete my recital of the registration.

There was no dispute.

The trial continued.

It was only at the point of summation, when the defence lawyer was trying to convince the magistrate that the car wasn't close at all, that the magistrate started questioning the identity of the vehicle. The defence lawyer never did during the trial itself. The magistrate suggested that we couldn't be certain that that car was the car being driven by the defendant, and yet the magistrate was the one who had clarified and received an answer that the registration was not in dispute and I was not required to say it in court.

I am therefore, as I am sure you can imagine, very confused as to how this all occurred.

The identity of the vehicle was not in doubt, but then it was.

I have looked into possibly of getting a transcript of the case, but I'm not sure I can, or if it even exists at all. I've seen suggestions that in non-jury trials, transcripts are often not taken/recorded in Scotland. Why?!? So whilst I am pretty angry about this, that's just about as far as it can probably go. Unless anyone knows any different of course!

In the grand scheme of things, my wee court case probably doesn't matter. It's small fish to a centuries old legal system that would appear to still be running things as if it was running centuries ago. However, something certainly conspired against me.

So what exactly is the required level of evidence for a dangerous driving conviction? I'm bu%%ered if I know.

Anyway, it just so happens, I'm off to court again tomorrow. Joy.....


  1. I would consider appealing for a mistrial due to the error made by the magistrate.

  2. No need to go out your way to make hard working peoples lifes a misery, Disgusting to see that you get such a buzz from doing what you do.

    1. Yes, how dare someone try to protect themselves against dangerous behaviour.

  3. Ignore trolls! 'Hard working peoples' indeed!