RULING THAT MAY QUASH THOUSANDS OF CAR FINES WAIVED:
Rachel Johnson's fines were declared invaled by the adjudicator
Tuesday August 4,2009
By Andy Russell
THOUSANDS of parking fines could be scrapped after a test case victory over tickets issued by roving spy camera cars.
Businesswoman Rachel Johnson was jubilant after she exposed a loophole and had three £60 fines quashed in a landmark ruling.
Rachel, 34, who runs an off licence in New Brighton, Merseyside, said: “We got three tickets in a week. It was outrageous. It is absolutely disgusting that the council uses such sneaky tactics to issue fines.
“There should be clear signs notifying motorists cameras are in operation. They are operating like prowlers, lying in wait.
“These spy camera cars are an alarming invasion of privacy and smack of a way to raise money.”
Outraged married mother of three Rachel took her case against Wirral Borough Council to the Traffic Penalty Tribunal and won.
The adjudicator decided the penalties were invalid as there were no warnings of cameras in operation.
A letter notifying her of the decision said local authorities should use the new generation of Smart cars with periscope-mounted cameras only “sparingly”, in areas where wardens cannot be used.
Parking justice campaigner Neil Herron, founder of parking appeals.co.uk, is calling for all councils to refund penalties imposed with similar spy camera evidence.
He said: “This is yet another victory for motorists against the Big Brother tactics that are used to penalise drivers for simply parking their car in a public place. Councils are playing fast and loose with the legal requirements. All councils that have issued fines unlawfully with these spy camera cars now have a duty to refund the cash, regardless of whether the motorists concerned appeal.”
He added: “I hope they do the decent thing and make the refunds quickly. Otherwise anyone who has paid a fine under these circumstances should write to the Traffic Penalty Tribunal seeking redress.”
Tory councillor Sue Taylor, who backed Rachel’s fight, said: “This landmark ruling could open the floodgates to thousands of other drivers.
“Councils need to introduce a system of erecting temporary signs in places where they are operating.
“That will discourage motorists from parking illegally and that should be their aim rather than simply cashing in on collecting fines.”
Wirral council said it was reviewing the way its spy car was used to issue parking fines.
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