I received a notice from court telling me that I had been convicted in my absence of driving without due care. I got nine points on my licence and a £800 fine.
I do remember getting a letter from the Police asking me to identify the rider of my motorcycle about six months ago. I wrote back telling them it was me. Then it all went quiet. I received nothing at all, and I am shocked to be told there was a trial without me!
I have done some digging and apparently this relates to me overtaking (and pulling a wheelie) past a car.
I am being honest here – I didn’t mean to wheelie. I’ve been having trouble with my quickshifter and as I overtook the car, my bike must have changed down a gear, causing me to pull a wheelie.
The car I overtook was running a dash cam and I think they passed the footage to the police. No one believes me when I tell them I didn’t mean to wheelie. I have got evidence of the bike going back and forth to the garage. My missus is livid with me and I am in the dog house, I need some advice on how to undo this mess.
Oh boy. This advice covers lots of different things, so here we go…
You need to make something called a Statutory Declaration at the court. This is done under oath and will set aside the conviction and reopen the proceedings. It is basically you swearing, under oath, that you didn’t know about the court case. Do this within 21 days of finding out about the conviction. If you delay, the court may not grant you permission to make the declaration.
Once reopened, the court will want to know how you plead to the charge of driving without due care. I am surprised this isn’t a dangerous charge (which pulling a wheelie almost always is), but I can see you might have a defence. You will need to enter a not guilty plea and the court will set the matter down for a trial. It is important to get a solicitor on board. You will need to explain to the court the basis of your defence and who you intend to call to trial.
This matters, as the court will allocate the proper time for the trial and you don’t want to ambush the CPS with your defence. Tell them up front. You will also need to get all of the prosecution evidence from the CPS.
Your entire defence appears to rely on the fact that your riding did not fall below the standard because an external factor caused the bike to wheelie. That external factor is a defective quickshifter that changed down a gear at the most inopportune time. If you can prove that, then I think you are in with a shout at defending this charge.
Work with your solicitor in finding a suitable expert to examine your bike. Make sure you keep all of the evidence of your bike going back and forth to the garage, if the expert does find a fault with the quickshifter, then you have a defence. Give this to the CPS and see if they will discontinue the case. If not, prepare for a trial. The CPS might want their own expert evidence but I think it unlikely.
There are lots of moving parts here; get a decent solicitor to take care of this. If you do it yourself, you run the risk of missing deadlines or not understanding the Criminal Procedure Rules. I have had to be brief in this advice due to word count but hopefully this will get you out of the dog house!
Fast Bikes May 2022