Thursday, April 28, 2011

Not so Smart ...

At a PATAS hearing last week ... Nigel Wise v London Borough of Richmond ... an extraordinary series of events occurred.
Nigel's clinically prepared case was expertly presented and left council parking representative with no option to concede. Costs were also awarded to Nigel which is something of a rarity.

The exemplary behaviour by Mr. Johnson and his full and frank admission that the council he failed to comply with the legal requirement to have its CCTV Smartcars certified in order to issue PCNs deserves praise. It made a refreshing change ... and I made a point of congratulating Mr. Johnson at the hearing as did Nigel.

However, the council it seems, once re-grouped appear to want to trivialise this rather than do the decent thing, accept the error and refund the money. More to come on this one ...

Hope for motorists in landmark CCTV parking fine victory
Mark Blunden
21 Apr 2011

Drivers issued parking tickets by mobile CCTV vans across London could have their fines quashed, it emerged today.

Campaigners say the case of one motorist who managed to get a ticket overturned on a technicality could lead to thousands of other similar penalties being cancelled.

When Nigel Wise, 59, received a £100 fine he discovered CCTV vans used by Richmond council were using the wrong type of camera, making his ticket invalid.

In a landmark ruling, a tribunal at the Parking and Traffic Appeals Service in Islington overturned the penalty, opening the door for appeals potentially worth millions of pounds.

Mr Wise, a full-time carer, claims to have unearthed evidence of similar errors at councils across the capital.

There are 43 Smart Cars equipped with CCTV in at least 24 boroughs, according to civil liberties group Big Brother Watch. Neil Herron, of the London Motorists' Action Group, said: "This is a landmark case. It has proved that you can't have any old cameras running around in any old car.

"Richmond council did not apply for the correct camera certificates, it was their error."

It is estimated that up to £10 million worth of tickets are issued city-wide by the CCTV vehicles every year.

Conservative-run Richmond earned more than £573,000 last year from 12,305 tickets of that type.

The authority today sought to shift the blame for the cameras to the government agency responsible for issuing the certificates.

Clare Head, Richmond's cabinet member for traffic, said: "The Government agency, the Vehicle Certification Agency, responsible for issuing the certificates made a mistake on the paperwork sent to us confirming the licence for one of our camera cars.

"This is all very frustrating. We believe we lost this case on a technicality. We'll learn from this mistake and make sure it does not happen again."

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