Q My twin brother took my car without my knowledge, got stopped for speeding by the police, and gave my name at the roadside. Because he knows all of my personal details, the policeman accepted them as being correct. I have now received a summons to court, and my brother won’t confess that he was driving because he already has six points on his licence and wasn’t insured. So it is my word against his. What will happen to me?
A It is very surprising that the police took your brother’s word for his identification, as the correct procedure is to require a motorist in these circumstances to produce his driving licence and certificate of insurance at a police station within 14 days.
You should not only protect yourself from an unjust conviction for speeding by telling the police the truth, but in so doing you would also avoid the possibility of being prosecuted for the far more serious offence of conspiracy to pervert the course of justice, which usually results in a prison sentence on conviction. You would do well to inform your brother of the risk that he himself is running, although he has already taken a step down that path.
If the police still proceed with the prosecution against you, it is important that you gather together any evidence that supports the assertion that you were not driving. If you have anyone who can vouch for your whereabouts at the time your brother was stopped by the police, this would be very persuasive in court.
It is for the police to prove their case against you beyond reasonable doubt, but anything you can add to your own denial will help make that doubt irrefutable, so as not to result in your conviction. You might suggest to your brother that he takes legal advice on his own position now, as any solicitor should confirm to him the grave consequences of continuing with his false allegations, and solicitors are prohibited by their code of conduct from allowing their clients to mislead the court.