Code is not a legal force
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THE CODE of practice for dynamic axle weighing has no legal force at all, according to Crown Court judge Michael Menders. It is not part of the law and, in any event, there is nothing in the code that says that if the laid-down period between accuracy tests of dynamic weighbridges was exceeded, subsequent weighings were invalid.
This was said by recorder Mr Manders at Stoke-onTrent Crown Court when he dismissed appeals by Gloucestershire haulier George M. Read of 11/litcheldean and one of his drivers, John Major, against convictions for overloading the second axles of an articulated vehicle.
However, Judge Manders substituted conditional discharges for 12 months for the fines of £250 imposed on Mr Read and £75 on Mr Major by the Lichfield magistrates. He ordered Mr Read to pay £50 costs in addition to the £175 costs he was ordered to pay by the magistrates.
Evidence was given that when the vehicle was weighed on the Wall dynamic axle weigher, the second axle was found to have an overload of 1,030kg — about 10 per cent. The code of practice laid down that such weighbridges should be checked for accuracy every six months. The Wall weighbridge had been checked in October 1982 and again on May 6, 1983, the day after Mr Read's vehicle was found to be overloaded. Mr Read said that the vehicle had been carrying coal from Nottinghamshire.
The National Coal Board was very strict in making sure that vehicles were not overloaded and the NCB weight ticket showed that the weights were correct when the vehicle left the colliery.
Evidence was given by the driver that he had looked at the load and seen that it was level and properly distrubuted.
Mr Read agreed with Giles Harrison-Hall, prosecuting for the West Midland Licencing Authority, that there was nothing on the NBC weight ticket to show that the second axle was not overloaded.
Mr Read, who represented himself, said he had appealed on the basis that the magistrates had misdirected themselves in holding that the code was not part of the law.