Former UK cabinet minister Chris Huhne and his ex-wife Vicky Pryce have both appeared in court today to face charges of perverting the course of justice. The Crown’s position is that Ms Pryce allegedly accepted responsibility for a speeding offence in order to spare Mr Huhne penalty points on his licence.
This high-profile case brings home the importance of taking specialist legal advice when a driver receives a Notice of Intended Prosecution (NIP). Receipt of a NIP is typically the first indication that a driver is about to face proceedings for a road traffic offence. A warning of the possibility of prosecution must have been issued at the time of the alleged offence or a NIP must be sent to the driver or registered keeper within 14 days.
Where there is genuine doubt as to who the driver was at the time of the alleged offence, it is important to note that there is a statutory defence where a person can show that they do not know and could not with reasonable diligence have ascertained who the driver of the vehicle was at the material time. If you have received a NIP it is crucial that you seek legal advice. As the case against Mr Huhne and Ms Price shows, making an alleged false admission in respect of a NIP is an altogether far more serious matter.
On February 16, 2012