Monday, March 20

Most people would just moan and pay up

Peter Troy - Photograph with thanks to The Northern Echo
Case Dismissed
By Peter Troy

Regular readers will recall that my new years revolution (resolution) was to set an example and to be (even) more revolting. The week before last Durham County Council gave me an opportunity to advance my objective.

As reported by Gavin Engelbrecvht in The Northern Echo on Saturday I successfully overturned a fixed penalty fine (£30) attached to my vehicle in a Durham side-street last April.

The problem started when Sophie overheated - the long drag up the MI from leafy Surrey had proved a tad to much for my recently orphaned new acquisition.

Sophie - a two litre diesel Rover 75 was a symbol of the state of the once great British motor Industry. The demise of Sopie's (so very British to name ones car I feel) makers in Longbridge Birmingham had just been announced and the stress resulted in the old girl breaking down in Durham. Well to be precise she overheated in a zone two parking area in the ancient City of Durham.

The Northern Echo reported:

'' Magistrates in Durham accepted that Peter Troy's claim that he had parked in a restricted area to allow his engine {actually Sophie's} to cool.

Mr Troy of Sedgefield said '' I was articulate and able to argue my case. Most people would just throw up their arms and pay the fine''.

Mr Troy, a former chairman of the Darlington branch of the Federation of Small Businesses said his problems started last April when his Rover 75 overheated in Leases Court....''

Breaking down when in a hurry is very annoying which was made worse by that very British entity - the petty official backed by an army of automations.

Gavin Englebrecht continues the story:

'' He returned after giving the car time to cool down to find that he had a £ 30 fixed penalty fine.Mr Troy sent the ticket back {that very day} with a note explaining what had happened. But he got a reply some months later saying if he did not pay he would be prosecuted. The system had gone into automatic mode.''

Despite many attempts to discuss the matter with the 'authority' which is a combination of Durham County Council and National Car Parks it was impossible to speak with anyone who had the authority to make allowances for any 'mitigating circumstances'.

So it came to pass that on the morning of Friday 10 March I found my self waiting out side court number 3 at Durham Magistrates' Court opposite Her Majesties Prison Durham charged with:

''......failing to pay the charge prescribed by Durham County Council (Durham City Zone 2) ...... contrary to Section 47 (1) of the Road Traffic Act 1984 as amended.''

Well now, the prosecution solicitor had a thick file and a witnesses and I as they say in legal circles, was representing myself.

The first opportunity to upset the smooth running of my trial presented it self when I was asked how I pleaded. The clerk demanded my answer: ''Well sir'' I said ''I really don't know what to say.'' I am here because I did not pay, but I did not pay because I did not , I will argue, commit an offence. As the crime, that I am accused of is that I did not pay the fine - then I must plead guilty since I have not paid - but as I had not parked my car but had involuntarily stopped I am making a case to their Worships that I need not pay thus I am not guilty, but I admit not paying as stated by the Clerk on the summons to this court.

After some discussion which just about everyone in the court contributed to the case continued. I conducted my own defence in a manner of utmost respect to their Worships. However the Clerk was clearly less than impressed with my stout advocacy. After some 45 minites of detail accounts and questioning as to poor old Sophie's upset that day the Magistraits retired. Returning some half an hour later their Worships anounced in wonderful detail that ''the case had been dismissed.''

As I left the court I similed, but not smerked, as the usher opened the door for me - returning my smile I thought I heard him say ''bloody well done Sir'', but I could have been mistaken.

1 comment:

Shelagh said...

Well done on keeping your New Year Resolution into March.....!