Our client’s client was charged with drink driving on a section of the M1 in West Yorkshire. Her vehicle was observed stationary on the hard shoulder by 2 traffic Officers passing southbound. Noting an adult male standing some 50 feet in front of the vehicle, the Officers decided there may be a problem. They exited at the next junction and rejoined northbound intending to then head to the next junction and return to where the vehicle was parked on the southbound hard shoulder.
Both officers’ Statements said they had exited at a particular junction to return to the parked vehicle. They further stated that from first seeing the parked vehicle, to travelling the circle to return to same, question a female passenger in it, argue with her, arrest her and place her in their vehicle was completed in exactly 5 minutes. The Defence understandably questioned this timescale. I was tasked to investigate by travelling the route at 0200 hours on a Sunday morning, same day and time as the events above so as to make sure the traffic was the same level.
Interestingly, the first thing I identified was that the junction the officers stated they exited (Northbound) and rejoined (Southbound) had no exit/entry roads so it was purely a junction to show where 2 motorways split. The Officers would have had to travel to the next available exit which was 1.5 miles further and also has 4 sets of traffic lights on the roundabout.
We made the journey 6 times videoing the route and commentating on the particular signs and points of importance, whilst driving at the 70MPH motorway speed limit. The Officers stated they did not speed or use their blue lights. The shortest time I completed the route in was 8 minutes and 2 seconds.
The Defence solicitors were shocked that the experienced Traffic Officers referred to a junction which they should have known had no exit or entry points. This played a key part in all charges being dropped as the account of the 2 Officers was brought into question in Court.
The Prosecution solicitor laughed in Court and shook his head at the Officers. He closed his file when the video was played with our commentary stating that Junction ?? had no exit or entry roads. The Magistrate peered over the top of his glasses at the Police and enquired 'Which junction was it Officers?'.
Quite an easy case which shows how a simple piece of inaccurate information can be the difference in winning or in this case losing!! As they say, the devil is in the detail.