Exceptional Hardship in Mansfield Magistrates’ Court
by Helen Newman
I recently had the privilege of helping a family through a very distressing time during which our client lost his wife and his children, their mother. Our client was faced with two low level speeding charges, both of which would normally be dealt with by way of a Fixed Penalty but which, due to him already having 9 points on his licence, had called him to court as a possible totter, meaning he was at risk of a 6 month disqualification.
Our client’s wife had a history of depression and self-harm. At the same time he was travelling the country working in a high stress job whilst trying to care for her and minimise the impact on their children. It was during this period that he received the speeding tickets. He did not want to avoid the charges. He accepts that the speed limits were there for a reason and had he broken them then there would be a consequence to this.
What he did not want to risk was the potential loss of his licence and the ability to get to his wife should she need him. The loss of his licence would have meant the loss of his job and consequently the loss of income which allowed him to pay for the roof over his head, to support his children, and to pay for his wife to receive specialist care.
As you can only use the grounds for an Exceptional Hardship application once in three years we needed to get these two matters tied up so they could be heard together – the alternative would be to split the grounds for the application which would be taking a risk that in isolation the elements of his application were insufficient – not something we would ever suggest doing. This involves persuading one police force to pass over the prosecution to another force – not something they are always willing to do. Fortunately they were willing to in this case.
I got to know this particular client very well, we were in contact with him for over a year, first whilst he awaited the summons and then after his wife passed away, as the case was on hold to allow him to concentrate on supporting his children through that time.
Our client was realistic that he had committed the offences, he even accepted that once his wife had passed that his need to be able to get to her had gone. But he wanted to try and ensure that he was still there to support his children. We worked with him in the build up to the case, obtaining references, statements, completing diaries, looking at his finances, trying to ensure that we had everything the courts could possibly want to persuade them to find in our client’s favour.
The application for Exceptional Hardship in Mansfield Magistrates’ Court was successful. After over a year of waiting he had his day in court and could begin to move on with his life.
In his own words:
“Amanda [his barrister] did an excellent job… I can remain driving. Thank you and the team there for all your help and support. It has been quite an ordeal the past few months and this is at least one less thing to worry about.”
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