Ashley X jailed after 5 year attempt to get out of a...

Ashley X jailed after 5 year attempt to get out of a speeding fine

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Introduction

We love a good story of man versus the system. Everyone loves the underdog. In real life, of course, the bad guys tend to win. Sometimes that’s ok of course, because the underdog is a right royal pain in the ass.

Once upon a time (2009 to be precise) Ashley X, a London motorist, got a speeding ticket for going 67mph in a 50 mph zone. Rather than just paying up, he launched a 5 year campaign through the courts to get out of it, concluding on 24th April 2015 when he was sent to prison for 9 months.

 

 

Facts

Ashley X is, now, his real name – he’s changed his name by deed poll, which perhaps gives a flavour of his level of co-operation, did not want to pay the £60 fine and take the 3 penalty points. But rather than just sucking it up and complaining down the pub about it all, he did everything he could, legal and illegal, to get out of it.

It’s not completely clear, but it seems Mr X at first refused to state that he was driving and faked a letter from someone claiming that he was Mr X’s cousin and that it was them driving. This seems to have given rise to a charge of perverting the course of justice.

He had been charged with failing to notify the details of the driver and was convicted of this in the magistrates’ court (and the appeal dismissed). During this, presumably, he gave evidence on oath that he wasn’t the driver. This gave rise to a charge of perjury.

 

Sentence

Mr X seems to have finally thrown in the towel and accepted his guilty, pleading guilty to those offences. He was sentenced to nine months.

There are no guidelines for these offences, but they will almost always lead to an immediate prison sentence. Where it involves speeding points (see the Chris Huhne case for example) it tends to be a sentence in the range of 6-12 months.

Here, there would be credit for a plea of guilty, so this would give a sentence of about 12 months. Although that is obviously a long one, I don’t think that Mr X could have complained if it had been longer. They were serious offences that undermine how the system works. A salutary lesson for Mr X.

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Dan is a barrister at 2 Dr. Johnson’s Buildings practising in crime.

9 COMMENTS

  1. What I don’t get is how he can be compelled to reveal the drivers details, particularly if he was the driver – what about the right to a fair trial and also to not incriminating yourself.

    If only there was the same diligence towards catching, entrapping and jailing real criminals rather than picking on those you can criminalise.

    • This has been argued on various occasions and it’s been held to be compatible with Art 6. I agree with you that that is not ideal, but you can see the public policy grounds behind it.

      He was a real criminal though – lying to the court and fabricating evidence is pretty serious on any view?

  2. L-E-S A man suspected of rape can be required to provide his DNA which will (if he did it) incriminate him and expose him to rather more than a £60 fine and three points on his licence . . . but I don’t think you would say he should be allowed to refuse and I would not agree if you did!

    • I take your point but the man who raped is not compelled to admit having even knowing the women he is alleged to have raped. Whereas driver are forced to identify themself (or the person driving) as the driver of the car at the time the speed camera flashed.

  3. It’s part of the deal if you choose to own and be responsible for a piece of machinery which is capable of killing people. You have to say who was using it when it was being used in a potentially dangerous manner. I see nothing wrong with that at all.

    • I see it as wrong when speed cameras are used as a means of revenue generation rather than as a deterrent. On most roads where there are speed cameras you will find that the speed limit is usually at least 10 mph lower than it would ordinarly be, to profiteer. I accept around schools and built up areas there is a need.

      • I think it’s a myth that the limits are set lower where there are cameras. The limits come first; the cameras follow where there is a perceived need.

        • Not so Andrew. The original intent was to place cameras at points of danger highlighted by previous accidents. However, it has been shown by various reports that we have had some “mission creep” and cameras are now more of a money making exercise under the Safety Partnership Scheme.

          That being said this chap seems a bit of a fool (I’m being polite here) in challenging the police under the circumstances published here.

  4. Who compiled those reports?

    In any event if you don’t speed you won’t be paying up.

    L-E-S: I am such an old f*** that I remember the introduction of the breathalyser in 1967 which was also solemnly denounced as making people incriminate themselves . . . I don’t think we’d want to be without it now.

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