The People's No Campaign / Metric Martyrs Campaign
Strict Embargo:12.01am Friday 4th November 2005
Tonight with Trevor Macdonald on ITV this evening (8pm ,all regions) has crucial information for all motorists. Do not miss it.
The programme addresses motorists fighting back against misused and misapplied laws. In particular it addresses 'decriminalised' parking
which was created initially under the 1991 Road Traffic Act in order to find a solution to errant parking in London. As more local authorities around the country begin changing over to a more 'profitable' enforcement system which dispenses with proper access to justice, the motorist is now beginning to fight back and say 'enough is enough.'
Sunderland campaigner, Neil Herron is featured heavily in the parking fine section of the programme highlighting Sunderland Council's alleged 'unlawful' parking enforcement regime and how the campaigner and his team are fighting back and to such an extent that many local authorities have already been forced to pay back considerable sums of money with many millions more to follow.
Paul Smith from SafeSpeed is also featured in the programme which addresses problems with an extremely commonplace laser speed meter.The film will also explain how easy it is for the equipment to give an erroneous reading.
Neil Herron states, "We began examining decriminalised parking as a result of the Metric Martyrs' Judgment whereby the late Sunderland greengrocer Steven Thoburn was convicted for selling bananas by the pound instead of the kilo. The judge stated that we now have a hierachy of laws with some, including the European Communities Act 1972 (which allowed the implementation of an EU Directive that made it a criminal offence to use imperial measures), having a special 'constitutional' status.
Also included as a 'constitutional' statute was the Bill of Rights Act 1689. Upon examination we found that if the principle of the Metric Martyrs Judgment was applied to other 'ordinary' acts then we would be able to create a conflict which would help expose the flawed judgment.
The 1991 Road Traffic Act which decriminalised parking offences, provided that conflict. One of the provisions of the Bill of Rights is that no-one can be fined except by a court. Decriminalised parking does not allow access to a court and the 'fine' is created by a local authority. The story was covered recently in the Christopher Booker Column in the Sunday Telegraph.
However, many local authorities are jumping on the bandwagon as they see decriminalised parking enforcement (DPE) as an easy way of raising revenue, effectively a stealth tax on the motorist, now raising £970m annually.
Upon further investigation, Sunderland, whose number of parking tickets increased tenfold when NCP took over enforcement from the Police and Traffic Wardens, it transpired had committed major technical errors when setting up the DPE regime, aside from the constitutional argument. In their DPE application to the Department for Transport they had simply given 'reassurances' to the Secretary of State that ALL the lines, signs and plates and necessary Traffic Regulation Orders would be correct and in place before commencing DPE. What is now being exposed is that they were not and there are still many thousands of errors. This means that the Secretary of State was misled into giving Sunderland City Council the power to commence enforcement and also means that the Penalty Charge Notices issued by NCP are unlawful. The current situation is that tens of thousands of pounds has already had to be refunded to motorists in the City and it is likely that the amount of money to be repaid will run into millions.
It may be the case that more serious criminal charges follow because Council Officers and NCP were aware in 2003 that they had issued PCNs unlawfully on Taxi Ranks and unlawfully to Blue Badge Holders on Loading Bays. The money was not repaid until we forced their hand.As stated in the 1996 Theft (amendment) Act, it is an offence to obtain money / money orders by deception, and there has already been an admission by the City Council to over 800 offences of unlawfully issuing PCNs.
Currently there is an ongoing internal investigation and the District Auditor is beginning an investigation after refusing to sign off Sunderland City Council's accounts. It is likely that a fomal complaint will be made to Northumbria Police."
The 'Sunderland situation' is not unique and there is evidence of wrongdoing coming in from other local authority areas.One particular local authority, Rochdale Council, has issued 26,000 PCNs with incorrect wording. Our campaign team exposed this after being contacted by a motorist over a single ticket. A response from Rochdale Council is overdue and on Tuesday, the issue was raised in the House of Commons at our insistence, by Rochdale MP and Liberal Democrat Transport Spokesman, Paul Rowen.
The issue of DPE is one which is going to cause very serious concerns for the Government as the motorists' rebellion grows.
Metric Martyrs Defence Fund / People's No Campaign
12 Frederick Street
0191 565 7143 (office)
0845 147 2006 (helpline)
07776 202045 (mobile)
e-mail metricmartyrs or the people's no campaign
NOTES TO EDITORS:
The examination of parking policy is one which is currently being examined by the House of Commons Transport Committee. The campaign's submission to that committee can be viewed here but it is apparent that parking policy nationally is an absolute shambles and operates under two different Acts of Parliament, the 1991 Road Traffic Act (decriminalised) and the 1984 Road Traffic Regulation Act (criminalised).
One major issue which has potentially massive legal implications for the DVLA is the fact that under the 1984 Act the driver is responsible, and yet uder the 1991 Act it is the registered keeper who is responsible and liable for any offences, even if they are committed by another. The DVLA do not mention this potential liability to anyone becoming a registered keeper.
There is also another major error in the legislation which will result in every DPE local authority being forced to refund money for unlawfully issued tickets. The national case on this issue is currently being prepared and is expected to be exposed by us in the coming weeks.
Any editors requiring a more detailed resumee of parking policy or an article on the issue and the implications for motorists can contact us on the numbers listed above.
Thursday, November 03, 2005
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