Friday, February 25, 2011

Prepare for the maelstrom ... Council officer forged parking documents

I expect that Britain's motorists will be incensed at the decision of Judge Graham Cottle but expect a very bright media spotlight to be shone on the sordid affairs of parking officers in the South West.

As a reminder of what the CPS say ...

CPS Guidance: Misconduct in Public Office

Like perverting the course of justice, misconduct in public office covers a wide range of conduct. It should always be remembered that it is a very serious, indictable only offence carrying a maximum sentence of life imprisonment. A charge of misconduct in public office should be reserved for cases of serious misconduct or deliberate failure to perform a duty which is likely to injure the public interest.

... and then read the words of Judge Cottle.

Then remember that Peter Harry is a VICTIM of wilful misconduct and the criminal actions of someone paid from the public purse. This massive injustice will incense Britain's motorists.

Official forged parking documents
Published on Fri Feb 25
20:10:09 2011
Press Association

A motorist has spoken of his disbelief after an Exeter City Council official escaped with a slap on the wrist after admitting forging documents in a parking dispute.

Geoffrey Urwin, 43, who worked at Exeter City Council as a parking support team leader, doctored a map that was presented to a traffic penalty tribunal after motorist Peter Harry appealed against a ticket he had been given.

Urwin, of Oxford Road, St James, Exeter, pleaded guilty to a charge of wilful misconduct at Exeter Crown Court on Friday and was given an absolute discharge by Judge Graham Cottle, the Recorder of Exeter.

Exeter Crown Court heard the charge related to an incident in June 2009, when Mr Harry, 67, who is part of a group campaigning against illegal issuing of parking tickets, discovered that some of the parking restrictions in Exeter city centre were incorrectly marked and decided to test them.

He found that the parking bays on Southernhay East were marked with a double white transverse line - meaning motorists who did not buy a ticket could not be penalised for parking there. When the retired cheese wholesaler, from Dawlish, Devon, received a penalty notice for not purchasing a ticket, he appealed against the fine.

The court heard that Mr Harry found that the ticket he had been issued with stated that he was parked in Southernhay West, when in fact he had left his car in the adjacent Southernhay East. He also discovered that a map the council had submitted to the tribunal had been doctored and the word 'East' removed - making it look like he was parked in 'Southernhay', the court heard.

After Mr Harry complained to the police, it was discovered that Urwin had realised that the pensioner was right and so the defendant altered parking plans to put the city council in the clear, the court heard.

Before Urwin entered his plea, Judge Cottle spoke of his disbelief that the case had ever reached the crown court in the first place. "The CPS lawyer spent hours on this case? I wonder whether that was money well spent," the judge said.

Speaking outside court, Mr Harry spoke of his disbelief at the comments of the judge. "I cannot understand justice sometimes," he said. "I am absolutely astounded. I am just struck for words. How the judge can give an absolute discharge for a criminal offence, which he never heard anything about, is beyond me."

A spokesman for Exeter City Council said: "Geoff Urwin no longer works for the city council. We have no further comment to make."

Copyright (c) Press Association Ltd. 2011, All Rights Reserved


The Rookie said...

Hopefully the CPS will appeal this pathetic 'sentance'

emmalpike said...

Perhaps the previous commenter could learn to spell before he displays his ignorance to the world.

Anonymous said...

Get your spelling right for goodness sake. You don't want to look ignorant do you?

Anonymous said...

I think the sentence of living under a cloud for a year, losing your job and future career is punishment enough!

Anonymous said...

I think the sentence of living under a cloud for a year, losing your job and future career is punishment enough!

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