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Perverting the course of public justice

Peter John MARSHALL born 25/05/54 of Hayle in Cornwall today, 14/12/09, pleaded guilty at Plymouth Crown Court and was sentenced for the offence of perverting the course of public justice.  He was sentenced to 3 months imprisonment suspended for 2years, 160 hours unpaid work, supervision order for 12 months and costs of £1300 to be paid within 6 months.

The circumstances are that a Suzuki motorcycle registration J906SOF activated a static Safety Speed Camera at 0724 hrs on 14th September 2008 on the A30 Roseworthy, Camborne Cornwall. The speed recorded was 90 mph in a 60 mph limit.

A section 172 notice was sent to Marshall asking for the name of the person who was riding the bike at the time of the offence. He replied on the notice with the word "UNKNOWN". He also sent correspondence to the Safety Camera Unit explaining he was not there at the time but was visiting his daughter. He sent photographs of his motorbike which showed differences between his bike and that of the evidential photographs. These showed that the number plate was a different size, the indicators were smaller, the exhaust had been changed and a grab handle had been added. In addition, one of his pictures there was a Cornish Flag sticker over the SUZUKI motif; however in another photo it was not there.

Previous keeper checks were completed and photographs were obtained to show how the bike was sold on E-BAY in its original state to MARSHALL.
When questioned Marshall said he had never changed the number plate and the Cornish Flag sticker was put on by kids. Later, a search of his property revealed the original exhaust. 

Following an intensive investigation by Enquiry Officers from the Safety Camera Partnership lasting several months, it was found that the alterations to the bike had been made after the offence was committed. Forensic examination of the Cornish flag sticker assisted in this case.
A forensic examination of the Cornish flag sticker revealed Marshall’s fingerprint on the sticky side of the Cornish Flag sticker.
Marshall was interviewed 4 times maintaining that someone else was riding the bike and that he never changed the number plate.
He did concede that he made other changes to the bike but when confronted with the sticker evidence he said that kids put the sticker on but he straightened it up during the photographing of his bike.

An Enquiry Officer said “Marshall has gone to extreme lengths to avoid a prosecution for a Safety Camera Offence and the sentence reflects this. If you are sent a section 172 notice asking for the details of the driver of your vehicle, at the time of an offence, it is your obligation to complete it honestly.

If you do not and it is discovered that you knowingly completed the form in a manner to avoid a prosecution then you may be charged with an offence of perverting the course of justice; this is considered to be a serious criminal offence regardless of the circumstances. If found guilty the offender will have a criminal record for life and possibly a period of time in prison.

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