For certain offences and subject to certain exemptions, the law requires that the defendant must have either been warned at the time of the offence of the possibility of prosecution or served with either a summons or notice of intended prosecution within 14 days of the commission of the offence (not counting the day of the offence). The notice of intended prosecution must have been sent either to the driver or registered keeper.
The situation is that there is an irrebuttable presumption that the notice of intended prosecution had been served unless, in the case of service by first class post, that the contrary was proved. The presumption was that unless proved otherwise, a notice sent by first class post was deemed to be received and served on the second business day after it was posted.
In a recent case the court was asked to determine whether a notice of intended prosecution should have been regarded as having been properly served when the notice was sent by first class post and would normally have been presumed to have been delivered within the 14 day time limit but where the court was satisfied that the notice was in fact delivered outside the 14 day limit. The delivery was late because of a postal strike.
The court held that whilst there was an irrebuttable presumption in relation to delivery by registered post or recorded delivery, the same did not apply to deliveries by first class post. A notice of intended prosecution would not be properly served if it was received outside the 14 day time limit.
The consequences for the police are that when there is a postal strike taking place, they will either have to make sure that the notice of intended prosecution is dispatched in plenty of time to allow for that despite delays, it will be served within 14 days or use more expensive means of service. The onus is still on the driver or registered keeper to advise and to prove that receipt was outside the 14 day limit. For more advice contact me on 01756 790631.