If you plead guilty and accept a fine, it’s not all that easy to reverse the situation
During the first phase of the Covid-19 lockdown I was pulled over riding alone in the north of England, the police officer asked me the purpose of my journey and I said “exercise”.
The copper asked me If I was planning on going jogging dressed as a Power Ranger and asked me where my trainers were, I did not have any trainers, so the copper issued me with a £60 fine, which I paid the following week as it was reduced to £30.
I thought no more of it, until this Dominic Cummings ‘defence’ turned up and it seems to me that after the Prime Minister rewrote the rules so that I can use my discretion. Can I get my money back?
No. You accepted the fine, which is the equivalent to a guilty plea, which is, practically, Impossible to turn over. There are limited circumstances to withdraw an admission of guilt, but you are In a legal minefield.
If I had to think about the process, I think you would have to make a High Court application to the Administrative Court or the Divisional Court, and your application would inevitably fall, and even without a lawyer it would cost you way more than £30.
You also have a fundamental problem in that the case, such as it was, is finished, so there is no appeal process. The law likes finality. If there is an administrative lawyer reading this, feel free to correct me because the procedure is new to me, but the basic premise of overturning a formal acceptance of guilt is pretty standard law, and you are buggered.
There is no defence in law that someone else got away with an act so I should too.
Had Mr Cummings been pulled over, I suspect that he would have been fined, both for the drive to Durham and the ‘eyesight test’ 60-mlle round trip, and If he had said “I’m not too sure about my eyesight”, any copper would have given him a roadside eye test.
I have looked at these Regulations closely, and formally advised a number of riders’ rights organisations as to the post May 13, 2020 impact on motorcyclists.
In so far as your case is concerned the police officer exercised his discretion and offered you a fixed penalty. Had you wanted to challenge the on-the-spot fine you could have challenged it at the Magistrates Court, but you chose not to, instead taking the £30 hit.
Do not waste your time trying to get a refund, the Police have no power to refund you, and bearing in mind you were simply going for a leisure ride during lockdown, you have no legal grounds for a refund.
The position has now changed. The amended regulations which came into force on May 13, 2020 allow unlimited travel, provided you do not ride with more than one other Individual if they are not part of your household, and they have since changed once again on June 1, 2020.
There is some ambiguity in the law, but if you are riding to a particular point, and you get off your motorcycle at that point and go for a walk around, you will not be breaching any rules by riding a motorcycle.
You are still obliged to maintain social distancing, and riding in a group (even If you observe social distancing) is likely to constitute an offence if riding in a group of six or more, even if there is a significant gap between you, but again, it would be close to impossible for the Police to prove you were riding in a group.
I was out for a ride recently and got on the tail of a couple of other riders who I had not seen before or since. Were we riding in a group? Of course not. All they were aware of was some bloke on a Husqvarna 701 was sat behind them.
Fast Bikes Summer 2020