Saturday, January 31, 2009

Had a parking ticket in Newcastle? This one's black and white ...

Catching up after a hectic few weeks there are a few pretty big bombshells about to hit the parking 'industry.'
The first one is local and has been simmering for quite a while and involves Newcastle City Council's paring regime. This situation highlights the absurdity that is parking enforcement in this country. Sunderland, South Tyneside and Gateshead all operate decriminalised (or civil) parking enforcement whereas Newcastle still operates under the 1984 Road Traffic Regulation Act and therefore parking penalties are non-endorsable criminal offences.

Under the criminalised regime you are allowed to appeal to the Magistrates Court rather than an 'independent' adjudicator (funded by the council). The Magistrates are truly independent of the council and any appellant is likely to get a fair hearing.
Newcastle City Council operate a 'Fixed Daily Charge' scheme whereby such a charge is applied should you fail to adhere to the signed terms and conditions (whether it be loading / pay and display / disabled etc.).

Because the £30 Fixed Daily Charge signs are not prescribed in law in the Traffic Signs Regulations and General Directions 2002 Newcastle required Special Authorisation from the Secretary of State. This was granted in 1997 and the conditions applied to a specific Traffic Regulation Order ... which was revoked in 2001.

Enter Roberto Campoli ... a Sunderland musician who acquired a Fixed Penalty Charge whilst unloading his equipment from a Loading Bay outside the Carling Academy where he was playing a gig. His crime was that his car did not look like the vehicle indicated on the Fixed Daily Charge sign ... and therefore he got a ticket. He appealed and was given short shrift by Newcastle City Council ... and then approached us. We established, after acquiring the papers from various sources that the Special Authorisation related to a Traffic Order that had been revoked in 2001. The Department for Transport at first claimed to be unable to find the front page of the document but after intervention by Lord Lucas the damning evidence was revealed. We had already obtained a copy previously and had submitted it to the Court as part of a skeleton argument for Mr. Campoli. On his third visit to the Court on 19th January 2009 Newcastle City Council decided to offer no evidence. The press and media were informed.

We are currently awaiting a response as to how Newcastle intends to progress with other outstanding Fixed Daily Charge matters but it appears that they have had no legal authority to issued such penalties since 2001. It appears as though they are in a hole and their legal department are looking into it.
How much is at stake ... well, with 185,000+ tickets at £30 a pop it comes to over £5.5m. If you have paid such a ticket or currently have one outstanding the drop us a line and we will give you copies of all the evidence
Meanwhile, read Roberto's tale below. The song by his band Black Sun will be released soon.
Roberto's parking-fine protest song
Roberto Campoli has composed a protest against his parking ticket.

26 January 2009
Parking charges are not fine says fed-up musician Roberto Campoli.

1 comment:

The Scumbag said...

Glad to see the useless bastards in Newcastle get a nice hefty slap.

Happy days

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