THE LAW GOVERNING MOT TESTING OFFENCES


It is a basic principle of the law in this country that a person is presumed innocent until proven guilty. It is for the prosecution to establish, on the civil or criminal law burden of proof applicable, that the defendant is guilty.

Administrative Law

DVSA usually process their formal MOT disciplinary procedures against AEs/NTs for MOT testing shortcomings under Administrative Law, which is a civil law process governing the manner in which DVSA perform their public duty. It does not form part of the criminal law process and, therefore, DVSA must determine the evidence applicable to the civil law burden of proof, which is based on the ‘balance of probability’. This standard of proof will be satisfied if there is enough evidence to lead a reasonable person to think it is at least more likely than not that an offence has been committed, and that there are reasonable grounds to hold that belief.

If DVSA contemplate taking formal disciplinary action against the AE/NT they must be cautioned, under the DVSA MOT disciplinary caution, before the commencement of any interview.

The MOT disciplinary caution is as follows: Currently I feel there are shortcomings which may be serious enough to result in formal disciplinary action being taken against you (or the AE). I would like to obtain your responses whilst this situation is still fresh in our minds. You do not have to answer my questions however if you only mention something later that you could have told me today it might not carry the same importance.

Although DVSA stipulate that there is no absolute right for an AE/NT to have a witness present during the interview, it is normal for DVSA to agree to a witness being present as long as the following criteria are met:
1. There must be no undue delay to the interview
2. The witness must not be another member of staff involved or likely to be involved in the case (i.e. in an interview with a NT the AE would be an inappropriate witness)
3. Any witness must not answer on behalf of the interviewee.
The witness can be an MOT Consultant, solicitor or a trade representative. The choice is for the interviewee to make.

Criminal Law

If DVSA consider that an AE/NT has committed a serious criminal offence (for example – falsely and deliberately issuing MOT documentation involving an act of fraud, dishonesty or gross negligence) and that a criminal prosecution is contemplated, any formal interview must be conducted under the provisions of the Police and Criminal Evidence Act (PACE) 1984 and its Codes of Practice. In addition to receiving a PACE caution the AE/NT must be informed of their legal right to seek legal advice before and during the interview.

The PACE caution is as follows: You do not have to say anything. But it may harm your defence, if you do not mention when questioned something which you later rely on in court. Anything you do say may be given in evidence.

In criminal cases the higher burden of proof ‘beyond reasonable doubt’ applies. Before a criminal court can convict a person it must be satisfied beyond reasonable doubt (or be sure) of the defendant’s guilt.

Should you require further information regarding the legal process of DVSA MOT disciplinary procedures, or a criminal prosecution, then please have no hesitation in contacting us.