PF v Michael Saini 2017

Mr Saini has successfully appealed a decision to increase the financial penalty imposed on his after he pled guilty to a speeding offence at the earliest opportunity to do so. Mr Saini appealed to the High Court after the Sheriff Appeal Court increased his financial penalty for the driving offence.

The High Court ruled that the Sheriff Appeal Court had erred, and the Justice’s original decision should remain in relation to the fine. The sheriff admittedly has made an error in relation to the discount in the number of penalty points to be imposed but had imposed a £300 fine reduced to £200 (a third) for the guilty plea. This was appealed to the Sheriff Appeal Court by the Crown on the basis that there was an error in the penalty points imposed by the Sheriff. However, the Sheriff Appeal Court increased the fine to £255 as stated the Justice did not give good reasons for the discount and 15 percent was more appropriate. However, this was appealed to the High Court by Mr Saini who reduced the fine back to £200 and corrected the original error in the penalty points.

The Lord Justice Clerk concluded: “In this case the confusion which arose because of the justice’s error led to the supplementary report referred to above in which a confusing and unconvincing explanation is given for the situation which eventuated. However, in his original report, before realising the error in calculation, the justice made it clear that (a) he was aware that the question of discount was a matter of discretion; (b) that the only relevant factor was the utilitarian value of the plea; and (c) having regard to the timing of the plea, at the first available opportunity, he considered that a discount of one third should be given. These are satisfactory reasons with which the Sheriff Appeal Court should not have interfered save for a correction of the arithmetical mistake.” The Appeal was therefore successful.