Police refuse to apologise after failed bid to prosecute learner driver for overshooting red light


Police refuse to apologise after failed bid to prosecute learner driver, 17, for overshooting red light by just a few feet during lesson with instructor

  • Joseph Bell, who was 17 at the time, stopped at a junction in Nottingham last year
  • Student was having a lesson with instructor and paused in zone for 14.8 seconds
  • He was granted absolute discharge and plans to take test in the next few weeks
  • Despite ruling, Nottinghamshire Police still backed decision to pursue the case 

Police have refused to apologise after a failed bid to prosecute a learner driver for overshooting a red light by a few feet.

Joseph Bell, who was 17 at the time of the incident, has been granted an absolute discharge and plans to take his test in the next few weeks. 

The student paused at a junction in Nottingham for 14.8 seconds last December during a lesson with his driving instructor, who was able to take charge if needed.

Joseph Bell, now 18, pictured with his mother Gaynor. The student has been granted absolute discharge after overshooting a red light at a junction in Nottingham in December last year

Footage showed there was no oncoming traffic or pedestrians, with the magistrates’ court hearing Mr Bell pulled up to the intersection at a slow speed. 

Mr Bell, who is now 18, admitted to failing to comply with the traffic light signal but will not be charged a fee or have any points added to his driving licence. 

Despite the ruling, Nottinghamshire Police still backed their decision to pursue the case.

The learner driver's car, pictured left, captured on camera at the junction during a driving lesson. Footage showed there was no oncoming traffic or pedestrians

The learner driver’s car, pictured left, captured on camera at the junction during a driving lesson. Footage showed there was no oncoming traffic or pedestrians

Inspector Simon Allen told the BBC: ‘The safety of all road users is paramount, which is why the law holds learner drivers equally accountable and they must ensure that they follow the rules of the road.

‘In these cases, drivers have the choice to take a ticket or to go to court as happened here.’ 

Mr Bell expressed his relief over not having any points added to his licence and his mother, Gaynor, said she was frustrated with the force’s move. 

Bruce Stuart, defending Mr Bell, said: ‘This is something that learner drivers do – they make mistakes.’ 

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