Special reasons argued in no insurance case
Our client was summonsed to attend Court for driving with no insurance. A friend of the family had offered to purchase his car insurance for him and said he had done so. Our client later repaid his friend the cost. Our client was given an insurance certificate in his name. He was stopped by police and checks revealed that there was no insurance policy in place for his vehicle. The insurance company confirmed that an insurance policy had been paid for online but a fraudulent card had been used and they cancelled the policy without notifying our client.
Driving without insurance is a strict liability offence and our client therefore had no choice but to plead guilty. He already had 8 points on his licence at the time of attending Court. The Court is able to disqualify a driver for driving with no insurance or impose between 6 and 8 penalty points. Because our client already had 8 points the court would disqualify him from driving unless there were “special reasons” not to do so. We explained to the Court the “special reasons” why he should not be disqualified.
Section 34(1) Road Traffic Offences Act says:
Where a person is convicted of an offence involving obligatory disqualification the court must order him to be disqualified for such period not less than twelve months as the court thinks fit unless the court for special reasons thinks fit to order him to be disqualified for a shorter period, or not to order him to be disqualified.
The Specail reasons were:
- That he had paid for insurance
- That he believed he had a valid policy
- That he had been given an insurance certificate and had no reason to believe it invalid
- That he had been defrauded himself
We called the client to give evidence. The Court found that he had an honestly and reasonably held belief that he had been driving with valid insurance and imposed no penalty whatsoever.
Note: We had also prepared exceptional hardship arguments under Section 35 of the Road Traffic Offenders Act 1988 should the special reasons have failed. Our client’s elderly grandmother relied on our client heavily to take her to Church and hospital appointments and to take her shopping, his mother relied on his income to pay the rent and the bills and he had a young daughter who lives some distance away and whom he pays maintenance for.