Having been handed a fine by a police officer for allegedly not wearing her seatbelt last year, a woman from Colchester has recently successfully defended herself in the Magistrates Court, avoiding conviction and a greater financial penalty in the sum of £500.
A “surround the town” police operation designed to clamp down on rogue motorists in Colchester last year resulted in Karen Bennett being one of among 66 motorists pulled over by the police and issued with a £37 fine for allegedly not wearing her seatbelt.
Mrs Bennett contested the fine, and rather than seeking legal representation, she elected to defend the case herself. The decision was influenced by her interest in crime drama programmes such as “Miss Marple”, which she felt, having regularly watched, provided her with the skills necessary to, which she relied upon when successfully defending her case in the Magistrates Court last month.
Before going to Court, Mrs Bennett had taken photos of the position her car was in when she was allegedly seen to not be wearing her seatbelt.
She appeared at the Magistrates Court in Chelmsford having been charged with driving a motor vehicle without a seatbelt (which can result in a fine of up to £500). Representing herself, Mrs Bennett cross-examined the police officer who issued her with the fine, enquiring as to where the officer had been parked at the time of the claimed incident. Mrs Bennett was able to use the response given, along with the evidence provided in the photos she had taken, to prove that the police officer could not have had a view sufficient enough to determine if she was wearing her seatbelt or not.
It is reported that Mrs Bennett also proved that her car was fitted with an alarm that sounds when seatbelts are not worn, and that her seatbelt was clearly visible at the time of the incident, which further supported her defence.
The Magistrates Court ruled that the information provided by the prosecution was inconclusive, whilst the evidence provided by Mrs Bennett was “exceptional”, and cleared her of the charges made against her.