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advicewelcome
Hi, I am requesting the help of the group as *urgently* as possible.

Quick overview of the situation - will be happy to answer any questions:

Situation:
* One of my elderly parents is a blue badge owner
* I and other family members use my car to drive the parent to the town centre occasionally
* Around August 09 the car was towed for alleged parking blue badge misuse in the town centre
* The car was street parked in a pay and display parking spot with a blue badge displayed
* PCN fines and recovery costs were paid to recover the car the next day from the local authority
* I have now received a summons to attend court in the very near future
* The local authority are claiming blue badge misuse
* I was invited to attend a interview under caution a month or so ago
* I did not attend that interview (it was not obligatory)
* A summons has been received with a statements and evidence
* In the summons pack there is a signed statement from a Council monitoring assistant
* The assistant is saying that believes he saw me setting and leaving a blue badge and then walking into a building in the town centre unaccompanied

* There is another statement in the summons pack saying that the attendant went to the blue badge's owner's address (my elderly parent home) and was told that the blue badge owner was out at hospital on that day by a family member

Current Approach:
* I am unsure what the best approach as frankly I cannot recall at this moment what happened 6 months ago.
* I am going to work on the basis that the local authority should be taken to task to prove guilt.
* Therefore I think the best approach is to:
1. Plead "not guilty" at any summons
2. Review the evidence that they have through the disclosure process
3. If it seems damming then reverse the plea in the pre-trail review

Some Questions...

* There are many family members that have access to my car - in the absence of anything photographic how does the prosecution know it’s me who left the car and walked into a building on that day?

* As they did not find the blue badge owner at home - how do they know he was not dropped off and then the car was parked up? With many of the streets in the town centre being busy and having a gradient it seems reasonable to drop a vulnerable person outside of the destination and then park up?

* Can the council insist that a blue badge owner has to be in the car when parking in a Pay and Display parking spot (not a disabled bay) when using a Blue Badge?

* I think the prosecution costs are £300’ish at the moment - will this rise (and the fine) substantially if I pled "not guilty" and then later are found guilty if the prosecution win a trial?

* How do I ask for "full" disclosure of all the evidence right away?

* Do I have to attend the court or can I send a letter indicating not guilty?

* Will pleading "not guilty" at a summons automatically lead to a trial?

* If they are successful with the prosecution - could it lead to a criminal sentence?


Welcome some urgent pointers - will happily provide more information if required.
ford poplar
Welcome some urgent pointers - will happily provide more information if required.

Full disclosure of circumstance is usually advisable if seeking advice
Whilst I would accept a BB holder could be 'dropped off' prior to BB parking, as a Mag I may expect proof that s/he was in the near vicinity at the time and not at a distant hospital dept.
I would suggest your only defence is the testimony of the BB holder.
kwaks
I would have thought they would need to see you parking and returning to vehicle alone to be sure the badge was being misused.

That being said, it certainly seems to me they may have been keeping an eye out for you due to past ingressions.

Edit: You say you were towed and fined on this occasion, but no mention of fighting it or even contesting it, might be the trigger which has convinced the council of your guilt.
emsgeorge
Council monitoring assistant sounds very much like a posh name for 'town centre cctv system operator'.

Does the statement of this assistant mention how they saw you - you may of been originally spotted by the cctv operator.

advicewelcome
QUOTE (emsgeorge @ Tue, 23 Mar 2010 - 08:06) *
Council monitoring assistant sounds very much like a posh name for 'town centre cctv system operator'.

Does the statement of this assistant mention how they saw you - you may of been originally spotted by the cctv operator.


In the summons pack - it says that the monitoring assistant was watching people - I think he would have been in a car (I saw a program on TV about the councils practices and thus this is how they do it). He apparently watched the event - and then followed me to a building. No mention of CCTV. Footage in that area is usually kept for 1 month and then destroyed unless a reason is requested to keep it (i checked). I have other family members who look like me - not sure how one person can be sure its me when they did not actually approach me at the time? I think the key is to get any photographic evidence that they may have to see how strong their case is.
advicewelcome
QUOTE (ford poplar @ Tue, 23 Mar 2010 - 03:28) *
Welcome some urgent pointers - will happily provide more information if required.

Full disclosure of circumstance is usually advisable if seeking advice
Whilst I would accept a BB holder could be 'dropped off' prior to BB parking, as a Mag I may expect proof that s/he was in the near vicinity at the time and not at a distant hospital dept.
I would suggest your only defence is the testimony of the BB holder.


Thanks for the response. The BB holder is disabled and unable to speak/write very well as part of their disability. I have power of attorney of this person - thus assume I would have to enter in that testimony? It is an option however I would prefer to shelter them from this issue.
advicewelcome
QUOTE (kwaks @ Tue, 23 Mar 2010 - 07:42) *
I would have thought they would need to see you parking and returning to vehicle alone to be sure the badge was being misused.

That being said, it certainly seems to me they may have been keeping an eye out for you due to past ingressions.


They certainly did not see anyone returning to the vehicle. They towed the car an hour after the monitoring assistance called it in. In the statement he says that he suspected misuse on seeing the car parked without another person. Whilst the car was being towed - they went to the Blue badge owners home address. It sounds a bit risky to tow the car and then check to see where the person is at their home address.? Apparently they keep a list of the cars that they see often in the town centre to target them. However without past evidence of any misuse - I doubt they could use that as evidence? Would the disclosure provide all the evidence they have?

QUOTE (kwaks @ Tue, 23 Mar 2010 - 07:42) *
Edit: You say you were towed and fined on this occasion, but no mention of fighting it or even contesting it, might be the trigger which has convinced the council of your guilt.


No, did not fight it as the whole episode was a hassle and at time thought it would cost more time and money to fight it. The council view is probably less important than the magistrates view. I think they will be doing all their prosecutions on mass and thus it would make sense to plea not guilty to get out of the group at the first summons and then see how strong the council's case is - would this be an appropriate approach?


southpaw82
If you plead not guilty then you should receive disclosure from the prosecution (the council) of the evidence they intend to reply on and any evidence they have that may undermine the prosecution or assist the defence. Councils routinely screw this up as they're not used to prosecuting in criminal matters.

If you want any evidence above and beyond what they provide you'll have to provide a defence statement and ask for it. More on that as and when required.

As you have correctly identified, I don't see how they can prove you were the person who parked the car and walked away. They seem simply to have summonsed the registered keeper. Identifications in court aren't really allowed as they're inherently unreliable so I don't see how they'll prove it to beyond a reasonable doubt.
advicewelcome
QUOTE (southpaw82 @ Tue, 23 Mar 2010 - 18:10) *
If you plead not guilty then you should receive disclosure from the prosecution (the council) of the evidence they intend to reply on and any evidence they have that may undermine the prosecution or assist the defence. Councils routinely screw this up as they're not used to prosecuting in criminal matters.

If you want any evidence above and beyond what they provide you'll have to provide a defence statement and ask for it. More on that as and when required.

Thanks for the reply. If you have any pointers about defence statements feel free to share. It would not surprise me if the council are holding back in order to catch out the defendants - this is probably the strategy in the "interview under caution" invitation. I just think its for them to prove the case and a defendant should have the right to see all the evidence. I wonder if the data protection laws allow the individual to get this information from the councils?

QUOTE (southpaw82 @ Tue, 23 Mar 2010 - 18:10) *
As you have correctly identified, I don't see how they can prove you were the person who parked the car and walked away. They seem simply to have summonsed the registered keeper. Identifications in court aren't really allowed as they're inherently unreliable so I don't see how they'll prove it to beyond a reasonable doubt.

They have a written statement from a "monitoring assistant" that works for them, I would not call that an independent witness. I guess its just a question of seeing if in fact there is any concrete evidence to show who has committed this offence. Many people within the extended family network have access to the car and they look similar to me.

I hear Magistrate courts can be informal and thus wondering if they can persuade the magistrate without concrete evidence? I guess I can only protect myself form this by understanding the principles of law that require 'beyond a reasonable doubt' evidence?

Another key question: At the summons can I ask if the case is adjourned until I am allowed to see all the evidence or get full disclosure - it would make sense to do this rather than plea guilty or not guilty.






whitewing
Isnt it illegal to tow a car displaying a blue badge?
The above observations are not proof of abuse - you could have been parking to go and pick up the badge holder.
advicewelcome
QUOTE (whitewing @ Wed, 24 Mar 2010 - 08:48) *
Isnt it illegal to tow a car displaying a blue badge?
The above observations are not proof of abuse - you could have been parking to go and pick up the badge holder.


Apparently they waited an 1 hour and 50 minutes and then towed the car. A monitoring assistance saw me walk out of the car. I assume this will give them the excuse that if I was coming to pick someone up - it was sufficient time to wait. They towed the car at the same time they knocked on the door of the badge owner - who was not at the home address. They were told that the person was at a hospital.

Is there anything in law to say that you can tow a car after waiting for a couple of hours? If they do not have evidence of where the person is - does that give them the right to tow the car?


I can understand the car being towed if a badge owner is pin pointed at a particular location - this was not the case in this instance??
clark_kent
I cannot see the problem if you had parked the vehicle to pick up the holder just state that in Court and get the holder as a witness, if you parked and used the badge in order to abuse the concession aforded to the disabled then your only option is to go to Court and both lie on oath and hope the magistrates are stupid enough to beleive you.
Enceladus
Which Council are we talking about?

A car with a valid blue badge cannot be clamped or impounded (towed). It can be relocated FOC if causing an obstruction.
It can be ticketed for a contravention not exempted by the blue badge.
That only applies if the badge is not stolen or counterfeit.

1hr50 to observe on CCTV, go to the car and get the badge number, check the owner of the badge against records, go to the address, get a witness statement, get a tow truck authorised etc. etc. No Council is that efficient. This suggests that you have been identified as some sort of persistent offender and were targetted as part of a crackdown operation.

If I were you, I would not lie to or mislead the magistrate.

Enceladus

southpaw82
QUOTE (clark_kent @ Wed, 24 Mar 2010 - 15:30) *
if you parked and used the badge in order to abuse the concession aforded to the disabled then your only option is to go to Court and both lie on oath and hope the magistrates are stupid enough to beleive you.


Or simply put the prosecution to proof.

OP - at the first hearing where you enter your not guilty plea you should get full disclosure from the council. You do not (and can not) use the Data Protection Act to get this. It is mandated by the Criminal Procedure and Investigations Act and the Criminal Procedure Rules.

The standard of proof in a criminal case (which is what this is) on the prosecution is beyond a reasonable doubt. Whilst magistrates do sometimes ignore this (unlawfully) that is the standard the council have to reach.

If you intend to fight this then you should go to court on the date on the summons and enter a not guilty plea and ask for full disclosure from the prosecution. Remind them of this.
advicewelcome
QUOTE (Enceladus @ Wed, 24 Mar 2010 - 16:19) *
Which Council are we talking about?

A car with a valid blue badge cannot be clamped or impounded (towed). It can be relocated FOC if causing an obstruction.
It can be ticketed for a contravention not exempted by the blue badge.
That only applies if the badge is not stolen or counterfeit.

1hr50 to observe on CCTV, go to the car and get the badge number, check the owner of the badge against records, go to the address, get a witness statement, get a tow truck authorised etc. etc. No Council is that efficient. This suggests that you have been identified as some sort of persistent offender and were targetted as part of a crackdown operation.

If I were you, I would not lie to or mislead the magistrate.

Enceladus


Thanks for the post. Not sure if the observation was on CCTV - may well have been via a on-the-road monitoring person - they could call in owner details and get the records and then go to x-check where that person is. I assume I will only know what observations have been made unless I get full disclosure and understand the full extend of the Councils case?
advicewelcome
QUOTE (southpaw82 @ Wed, 24 Mar 2010 - 16:51) *
QUOTE (clark_kent @ Wed, 24 Mar 2010 - 15:30) *
if you parked and used the badge in order to abuse the concession aforded to the disabled then your only option is to go to Court and both lie on oath and hope the magistrates are stupid enough to beleive you.


Or simply put the prosecution to proof.

OP - at the first hearing where you enter your not guilty plea you should get full disclosure from the council. You do not (and can not) use the Data Protection Act to get this. It is mandated by the Criminal Procedure and Investigations Act and the Criminal Procedure Rules.

The standard of proof in a criminal case (which is what this is) on the prosecution is beyond a reasonable doubt. Whilst magistrates do sometimes ignore this (unlawfully) that is the standard the council have to reach.

If you intend to fight this then you should go to court on the date on the summons and enter a not guilty plea and ask for full disclosure from the prosecution. Remind them of this.



Thanks for the above.

I am keen to see if they have any CCTV footage, or if they can prove that the BB holders was in a particular location at the time. Its sounds that Councils are more likely to provide disclosure then the CPS. From reading the posting - they may not have to give disclosure, if you hold back a plea until full disclosure?

I would think they would want to put all the evidence they have in the Summons document in order to get you to plea guilty? Thus, I assume if they have observed a pattern or want to prosecute for any abuse that happened more than once - it would all be in the summons statement?

"Reid, 40, of Cavandale Road, Great Barr, told the court that she had dropped her disabled elderly mother and sister at Bullring before parking and intended driving her back during her lunch break. Officials found her mother at home during the mid-morning. "

(http://www.thefreelibrary.com/BANK+STAFF+MAY+LOSE+JOBS+OVER+BLUE+BADGE+CON.-a0220397230)


I do not understand how the person above - gave a statement to the court then later discovered they knew where the BB owner was?
advicewelcome
Hi - think I posted in the wrong section as this is a Criminal Case:

Am keen to understand that if I plea guilty (might be less hassle and cheaper) - will it appear in a CRB check and will it be recorded as a traffic offence or Dishonesty/Fraud?

For these cases, I understand that the two points of law that Local Councils may prosecute under are:

Section 11Fraud Act 2006
• Obtaining Services Dishonestly
Section 117 Road Traffic Regulation Act 2006
• Wrongful use of Disabled Persons Badge


Really would welcome your feedback as summons is in next days.

Thanks.


----

Background to the posting and link: http://forums.pepipoo.com/index.php?showtopic=49924

Hi, I am requesting the help of the group as *urgently* as possible.

Quick overview of the situation - will be happy to answer any questions:

Situation:
* One of my elderly parents is a blue badge owner
* I and other family members use my car to drive the parent to the town centre occasionally
* Around August 09 the car was towed for alleged parking blue badge misuse in the town centre
* The car was street parked in a pay and display parking spot with a blue badge displayed
* PCN fines and recovery costs were paid to recover the car the next day from the local authority
* I have now received a summons to attend court in the very near future
* The local authority are claiming blue badge misuse
* I was invited to attend a interview under caution a month or so ago
* I did not attend that interview (it was not obligatory)
* A summons has been received with a statements and evidence
* In the summons pack there is a signed statement from a Council monitoring assistant
* The assistant is saying that believes he saw me setting and leaving a blue badge and then walking into a building in the town centre unaccompanied

* There is another statement in the summons pack saying that the attendant went to the blue badge's owner's address (my elderly parent home) and was told that the blue badge owner was out at hospital on that day by a family member

Current Approach:
* I am unsure what the best approach as frankly I cannot recall at this moment what happened 6 months ago.
* I am going to work on the basis that the local authority should be taken to task to prove guilt.
* Therefore I think the best approach is to:
1. Plead "not guilty" at any summons
2. Review the evidence that they have through the disclosure process
3. If it seems damming then reverse the plea in the pre-trail review

Some Questions...

* There are many family members that have access to my car - in the absence of anything photographic how does the prosecution know it’s me who left the car and walked into a building on that day?

* As they did not find the blue badge owner at home - how do they know he was not dropped off and then the car was parked up? With many of the streets in the town centre being busy and having a gradient it seems reasonable to drop a vulnerable person outside of the destination and then park up?

* Can the council insist that a blue badge owner has to be in the car when parking in a Pay and Display parking spot (not a disabled bay) when using a Blue Badge?

* I think the prosecution costs are £300’ish at the moment - will this rise (and the fine) substantially if I pled "not guilty" and then later are found guilty if the prosecution win a trial?

* How do I ask for "full" disclosure of all the evidence right away?

* Will pleading "not guilty" at a summons automatically lead to a trial?

* If they are successful with the prosecution - could it lead to a criminal sentence?


Welcome some urgent pointers - will happily provide more information if required


southpaw82
One case, one thread. If I considered the case needed to be moved, I'd have moved it. Please don't start any new threads on this case.
Equalizer
Just a couple of points I don't see already mooted.

First. The main evidence seems to be that of a family member claiming the blue badge holder was in hospital that day. No written statement from the blue badge holder nor this family member. I'm presuming that neither person has been asked to provide a statement and neither has been asked to be a witness? An impossible prosecution if OP pleads not guilty. In the absense of those statements/witnesses it's all hear-say. I'm guessing they are relying on OP to cave in and plead guilty. I can't see how else they can get a successful prosecution??

Second. If the prosecution is successful. Then, yes, this will be a criminal record. It will be recorded as fraud of some description or another. But then, even speeding fines give a criminal record and also appear of CRB checks (just that people tend to ignore them unless relevent to the CRB check, ie - getting employment as a driver). It's not a parking offence.

Third. As OP has not made a statement as of this time, he can (and should in my view) wait until he has the complete prosecution case firmly in his hands.

I don't think I'd bother too much about formulating the defence until the prosecution evidence is to hand. As has already been said here - this has been a Council prosecuting this - and they are often not very good at it!
southpaw82
QUOTE (Equalizer @ Thu, 25 Mar 2010 - 15:31) *
Second. If the prosecution is successful. Then, yes, this will be a criminal record. It will be recorded as fraud of some description or another. But then, even speeding fines give a criminal record and also appear of CRB checks (just that people tend to ignore them unless relevent to the CRB check, ie - getting employment as a driver). It's not a parking offence.


There won't be a criminal record as the offence of misusing a blue badge is not a recordable offence. Only if an offence under the Fraud Act was charged would a criminal record result. Speeding fines never result in a criminal record. A CRB will not show any offences other than recordable offences. an ECRB may show locally recorded offences if the Chief Constable deems them relevant to the application.
advicewelcome
QUOTE (Equalizer @ Thu, 25 Mar 2010 - 15:31) *
Just a couple of points I don't see already mooted.

First. The main evidence seems to be that of a family member claiming the blue badge holder was in hospital that day. No written statement from the blue badge holder nor this family member. I'm presuming that neither person has been asked to provide a statement and neither has been asked to be a witness? An impossible prosecution if OP pleads not guilty. In the absense of those statements/witnesses it's all hear-say. I'm guessing they are relying on OP to cave in and plead guilty. I can't see how else they can get a successful prosecution??

Second. If the prosecution is successful. Then, yes, this will be a criminal record. It will be recorded as fraud of some description or another. But then, even speeding fines give a criminal record and also appear of CRB checks (just that people tend to ignore them unless relevent to the CRB check, ie - getting employment as a driver). It's not a parking offence.

Third. As OP has not made a statement as of this time, he can (and should in my view) wait until he has the complete prosecution case firmly in his hands.

I don't think I'd bother too much about formulating the defence until the prosecution evidence is to hand. As has already been said here - this has been a Council prosecuting this - and they are often not very good at it!


Thanks for the response. Much appreciated.

I will be asking for disclosure to see if there is any further information. Not sure if they will give me this - or if a Solicitor has to ask?

When the monitoring person visited the house they were told that the blue badge owner was not present and that the BB owner was at a hospital. They asked where, but no further questions were answered. The monitoring assistant had a Council Witness who visited at the same time to collaborate.

However, the person who opened the door and answered the question could have been mistaken in the whereabouts of the BB owner. Do you think a Magistrate likely to side with the Council in this respect?

I understand that parking a car without the Blue Badge owner being present is an "absolute offence" - meaning that they will not accept that you have dropped the person off and parked around the corner. However, this is practically what anyone has to do in town centres where roads are steep and busy and parking is not always available. Again not sure if a Magistrate will side with the Council?



southpaw82
QUOTE (advicewelcome @ Thu, 25 Mar 2010 - 15:59) *
I will be asking for disclosure to see if there is any further information. Not sure if they will give me this - or if a Solicitor has to ask?


If you are representing yourself then you can ask yourself. They are under the same duty of disclosure to you whether you're represented by a solicitor or not.

QUOTE
When the monitoring person visited the house they were told that the blue badge owner was not present and that the BB owner was at a hospital. They asked where, but no further questions were answered. The monitoring assistant had a Council Witness who visited at the same time to collaborate.

However, the person who opened the door and answered the question could have been mistaken in the whereabouts of the BB owner. Do you think a Magistrate likely to side with the Council in this respect?


The hearsay laws prevent a witness from giving evidence in court as to something that was said by a person outside of court (with certain exceptions). They can not turn up in court and say "well, so-and-so told us that the BB holder was in hospital". That is hearsay and it's not allowed.
Equalizer
QUOTE (southpaw82 @ Thu, 25 Mar 2010 - 15:56) *
QUOTE (Equalizer @ Thu, 25 Mar 2010 - 15:31) *
Second. If the prosecution is successful. Then, yes, this will be a criminal record. It will be recorded as fraud of some description or another. But then, even speeding fines give a criminal record and also appear of CRB checks (just that people tend to ignore them unless relevent to the CRB check, ie - getting employment as a driver). It's not a parking offence.


There won't be a criminal record as the offence of misusing a blue badge is not a recordable offence. Only if an offence under the Fraud Act was charged would a criminal record result. Speeding fines never result in a criminal record. A CRB will not show any offences other than recordable offences. an ECRB may show locally recorded offences if the Chief Constable deems them relevant to the application.


1. Misuse of a blue badge is fraudulent isn't it? Is this not going to be put before the Courts as an offence under the Fraud Act? If not then what is the charge? On the badge itself it states -

"Misuse of this card may constitute a criminal offence - maximum penalty £1000."

- w
hich I would have thought must make it a recordable offence.

2. Also speeding fines - if handed out in a Magistrates Court would involve a criminal record. Granted this will not be the case if any Fixed Penalty Notice is paid and the points added to the licence without going through the Magistrates Court.

3. I also don't know that a Chief Constable would ever get involved with an individual ECRB check. Would he?? I'm sure it's just an administrative thing. The information is either there on record, or it isn't.
southpaw82
QUOTE (Equalizer @ Thu, 25 Mar 2010 - 16:34) *
1. Misuse of a blue badge is fraudulent isn't it? Is this not going to be put before the Courts as an offence under the Fraud Act? If not then what is the charge? On the badge itself it states -

"Misuse of this card may constitute a criminal offence - maximum penalty £1000."

- w
hich I would have thought must make it a recordable offence.


The Road Traffic Regulation Act 1984, s. 117

QUOTE
(1) A person who at any time acts in contravention of, or fails to comply with, any provision of an order under this Act relating to the parking of motor vehicles is also guilty of an offence under this subsection if at that time—

(a) there was displayed on the motor vehicle in question a badge purporting to be of a form prescribed under section 21 of the Chronically Sick and Disabled Persons Act 1970, and

(b) he was using the vehicle in circumstances where a disabled person’s concession would be available to a disabled person’s vehicle,

but he shall not be guilty of an offence under this subsection if the badge was issued under that section and displayed in accordance with regulations made under it.


It is not a recordable offence.

QUOTE
2. Also speeding fines - if handed out in a Magistrates Court would involve a criminal record. Granted this will not be the case if any Fixed Penalty Notice is paid and the points added to the licence without going through the Magistrates Court.


No, it won't. A criminal record consists of offences specified as recordable offences in the National Police Records (Recordable Offences) Regulations 2000. I've already told you this so I'm a bit bemused as to why you felt the need to post the wrong information yet again.

QUOTE
3. I also don't know that a Chief Constable would ever get involved with an individual ECRB check. Would he?? I'm sure it's just an administrative thing. The information is either there on record, or it isn't.


The Police Act 1997, s. 115

QUOTE
(1) The Secretary of State shall issue an enhanced criminal record certificate to any individual who—

(a) makes an application under this section in the prescribed form countersigned by a registered person, and

(b) pays any fee that is payable in relation to the application under regulations made by the Secretary of State.

(6) An enhanced criminal record certificate is a certificate which—

(a) gives—

(i) the prescribed details of every relevant matter relating to the applicant which is recorded in central records, and

(ii) any information provided in accordance with subsection (7), or

(b) states that there is no such matter or information.

(7) Before issuing an enhanced criminal record certificate the Secretary of State shall request the chief officer of every relevant police force to provide any information which, in the chief officer’s opinion—

(a) might be relevant for the purpose described in the statement under subsection (2), and

(b) ought to be included in the certificate.


A CRB gives details only from "central records" (ie the PNC). Only an ECRB allows the Chief Officer of Police to include other information, if he deems it relevant.

Bottom line - if you don't know, don't present your guess as fact.
advicewelcome
QUOTE (southpaw82 @ Thu, 25 Mar 2010 - 16:04) *
The hearsay laws prevent a witness from giving evidence in court as to something that was said by a person outside of court (with certain exceptions). They can not turn up in court and say "well, so-and-so told us that the BB holder was in hospital". That is hearsay and it's not allowed.

The monitoring assistance has provided an official witness statement that is signed by him and sent along in the summons pack. The pack would have been put together by the prosecution team. This statement would thus probably pass the rules to be admissible at the court hearing or trial?
Equalizer
OK SP.

It may be semantics to say "Recordable" when I have said it is "Criminal". It will be recorded one way or the other. I still wonder what the charge against OP will be (and how that might affect any CRB).

I also see what you are getting at with the "Chief Constable" - it will of course be one of his underlings who would undertake the duty.

But I feel this is more serious to OP than your post might imply. So I hope you'll allow me this link to some Blue Badge Fraud reports - so OP can see for himself examples of what may happen -

http://benefitfraud.blogspot.com/search/la...20badge%20fraud

Note - Importantly I feel, a quick glance through suggests to me that all the cases shown were where people had "admitted" the offence.

I also note one magistrate suggested prison was a "close" thing (aren't imprisonable offences automatically "recordable" - or was that magistrate also talking out of his socks? :-)

What SP has said here in other posts must be right.
advicewelcome
QUOTE (southpaw82 @ Thu, 25 Mar 2010 - 15:56) *
QUOTE (Equalizer @ Thu, 25 Mar 2010 - 15:31) *
Second. If the prosecution is successful. Then, yes, this will be a criminal record. It will be recorded as fraud of some description or another. But then, even speeding fines give a criminal record and also appear of CRB checks (just that people tend to ignore them unless relevent to the CRB check, ie - getting employment as a driver). It's not a parking offence.


There won't be a criminal record as the offence of misusing a blue badge is not a recordable offence. Only if an offence under the Fraud Act was charged would a criminal record result. Speeding fines never result in a criminal record. A CRB will not show any offences other than recordable offences. an ECRB may show locally recorded offences if the Chief Constable deems them relevant to the application.


Thanks for the reply - I understand that both the below are relevant laws for them to prosecute against:

Section 11Fraud Act 2006
• Obtaining Services Dishonestly

Section 117 Road Traffic Regulation Act 2006
• Wrongful use of Disabled Persons Badge

Would the Fraud Act mean that a recordable offence has occured that would show up on a CRB.
Enceladus
According to the DFT website.
"The following action can be taken against the person using someone else’s Badge for their own benefit:
They can be prosecuted and face a fine of up to £1,000 on conviction under section 21 of the Chronically Sick and Disabled Persons Act 1970;
They can be prosecuted and receive a fine of up to £1,000 on conviction under section 117 of the Road Traffic Regulation Act 1984;
They could be issued with a Penalty Charge Notice or a Fixed Penalty Notice for any parking contravention;"

Does the summons not say what the charge is?

Enceladus
advicewelcome
QUOTE (Enceladus @ Thu, 25 Mar 2010 - 18:06) *
According to the DFT website.
"The following action can be taken against the person using someone else’s Badge for their own benefit:
They can be prosecuted and face a fine of up to £1,000 on conviction under section 21 of the Chronically Sick and Disabled Persons Act 1970;
They can be prosecuted and receive a fine of up to £1,000 on conviction under section 117 of the Road Traffic Regulation Act 1984;
They could be issued with a Penalty Charge Notice or a Fixed Penalty Notice for any parking contravention;"

Does the summons not say what the charge is?

Enceladus


Details:

.. the badge was not displayed in acordance with Regulation 14(2) of the Disabled Person (Badges for Motor Vehicles) (England) Regulations 2000 made under section 21 of the Chronicaly Sick and Disabled Persons Act 1970 in that the holder of the badge has not been driven nor had been carried in the said motor vehicle to the place it was parked nor was to be driven by the holder or to be used to carry the holder from the place and you used the said vehicle in circumstances where a disabled persons concession would be available to a disabled person's vehicle.

Countary to Section 117 (1) Road Traffic Regulation Act 1984 (as amended)


Even though dropping someone off and finding parking is an offence, it shouldn't allow the Council to assert the BB holder had not been driven the majority of the distance. Not sure that would make any different to the magistrate?



QUOTE (Enceladus @ Thu, 25 Mar 2010 - 18:06) *
According to the DFT website.
"The following action can be taken against the person using someone else’s Badge for their own benefit:
They can be prosecuted and face a fine of up to £1,000 on conviction under section 21 of the Chronically Sick and Disabled Persons Act 1970;
They can be prosecuted and receive a fine of up to £1,000 on conviction under section 117 of the Road Traffic Regulation Act 1984;
They could be issued with a Penalty Charge Notice or a Fixed Penalty Notice for any parking contravention;"

Does the summons not say what the charge is?

Enceladus


Below is some text from a Council Presentation about Blue Badge Strategy.

Enforcement Powers:
• DfT ‘Rights & Responsibilities’ booklet should include
more info on misuse and enforcement
• 3 strikes rule needs to be removed or should be able to
include PCNs as ‘relevant convictions’
• Penalties are not tough enough
• Not priority for involvement from police
• Lack of clarity on availability of towing powers
• Parking tribunals often favour badge holders
• Lack of tools/deterrents – e.g. FPNs, points on licence


I need to take a look at the DfT Booklet - however if it does not spell out that a BB holder has to be in the car when parking and not dropped earlier in the booklet - then I guess their are some beginnings of a defence.

Additionally the presentation has this bit of text about Common Defences used:

Common Defences
• Dropped the badge holder off around the corner and looking for
somewhere to park.
– Absolute Offence
– Phone Badge Holder at home
– Pattern of parking
• Going to pick badge Holder up.
– Ring Badge Holder at Home
– Period of time between vehicle parking and removing
– Pattern of Parking
• I didn’t put the badge In the window.
– Observations when parking vehicle
– Repeated observations and sightings


Sounds as though they need the pattern of parking as well in order to be water tight.

We do not hear about the ones they don't decide to prosecute after a summons or are defeated... are there any??
BobBuilder
QUOTE (advicewelcome @ Thu, 25 Mar 2010 - 13:44) *
QUOTE (southpaw82 @ Wed, 24 Mar 2010 - 16:51) *
QUOTE (clark_kent @ Wed, 24 Mar 2010 - 15:30) *
if you parked and used the badge in order to abuse the concession aforded to the disabled then your only option is to go to Court and both lie on oath and hope the magistrates are stupid enough to beleive you.


Or simply put the prosecution to proof.

OP - at the first hearing where you enter your not guilty plea you should get full disclosure from the council. You do not (and can not) use the Data Protection Act to get this. It is mandated by the Criminal Procedure and Investigations Act and the Criminal Procedure Rules.

The standard of proof in a criminal case (which is what this is) on the prosecution is beyond a reasonable doubt. Whilst magistrates do sometimes ignore this (unlawfully) that is the standard the council have to reach.

If you intend to fight this then you should go to court on the date on the summons and enter a not guilty plea and ask for full disclosure from the prosecution. Remind them of this.



Thanks for the above.

I am keen to see if they have any CCTV footage, or if they can prove that the BB holders was in a particular location at the time. Its sounds that Councils are more likely to provide disclosure then the CPS. From reading the posting - they may not have to give disclosure, if you hold back a plea until full disclosure?

I would think they would want to put all the evidence they have in the Summons document in order to get you to plea guilty? Thus, I assume if they have observed a pattern or want to prosecute for any abuse that happened more than once - it would all be in the summons statement?

"Reid, 40, of Cavandale Road, Great Barr, told the court that she had dropped her disabled elderly mother and sister at Bullring before parking and intended driving her back during her lunch break. Officials found her mother at home during the mid-morning. "

(http://www.thefreelibrary.com/BANK+STAFF+MAY+LOSE+JOBS+OVER+BLUE+BADGE+CON.-a0220397230)


I do not understand how the person above - gave a statement to the court then later discovered they knew where the BB owner was?


How could they prove that it was the person they saw at the house who was the badge holder - e.g. if they had poor English skills and just agreed when asked about the badge holder being present with the name of the person who resided there when asked but that person was out of the house, or can this evidence be based purely on testimony - they could have seen the person's sister who looked alike and taken that as if the badge holder was present... How would this need to be proven? Photographic evidence, sound recording or just on testimony? Is photographic evidence valid or does it need to be taken with a camera that meets certain requirements?
BobBuilder
QUOTE (advicewelcome @ Thu, 25 Mar 2010 - 13:44) *
QUOTE (southpaw82 @ Wed, 24 Mar 2010 - 16:51) *
QUOTE (clark_kent @ Wed, 24 Mar 2010 - 15:30) *
if you parked and used the badge in order to abuse the concession aforded to the disabled then your only option is to go to Court and both lie on oath and hope the magistrates are stupid enough to beleive you.


Or simply put the prosecution to proof.

OP - at the first hearing where you enter your not guilty plea you should get full disclosure from the council. You do not (and can not) use the Data Protection Act to get this. It is mandated by the Criminal Procedure and Investigations Act and the Criminal Procedure Rules.

The standard of proof in a criminal case (which is what this is) on the prosecution is beyond a reasonable doubt. Whilst magistrates do sometimes ignore this (unlawfully) that is the standard the council have to reach.

If you intend to fight this then you should go to court on the date on the summons and enter a not guilty plea and ask for full disclosure from the prosecution. Remind them of this.



Thanks for the above.

I am keen to see if they have any CCTV footage, or if they can prove that the BB holders was in a particular location at the time. Its sounds that Councils are more likely to provide disclosure then the CPS. From reading the posting - they may not have to give disclosure, if you hold back a plea until full disclosure?

I would think they would want to put all the evidence they have in the Summons document in order to get you to plea guilty? Thus, I assume if they have observed a pattern or want to prosecute for any abuse that happened more than once - it would all be in the summons statement?

"Reid, 40, of Cavandale Road, Great Barr, told the court that she had dropped her disabled elderly mother and sister at Bullring before parking and intended driving her back during her lunch break. Officials found her mother at home during the mid-morning. "

(http://www.thefreelibrary.com/BANK+STAFF+MAY+LOSE+JOBS+OVER+BLUE+BADGE+CON.-a0220397230)


I do not understand how the person above - gave a statement to the court then later discovered they knew where the BB owner was?

Is it possible to obtain the evidence the Council provided to show that elderly mother was found at her home, now that the Reid case has been closed?

If a person dropped their relative to a location and planned on meeting them again, then the relative decides to go home earlier then their "driver" was able to, e.g. the driver had arranged to take them home at lunchtime but due to an emergency or whaetver reason the relative decided to go home earlier. Is it ok for the person to be at home when the Council arrived to do a cross check?

At what stage do the Council have to disclose that they have evidence of the badge holder having been found at home? Or do they not have to disclose that as it is crucial to the case? Can they use that at the hearing if they have not informed the OP of this evidence?
I-LOV-MONEY
QUOTE (BobBuilder @ Thu, 25 Mar 2010 - 20:43) *
If a person dropped their relative to a location and planned on meeting them again, then the relative decides to go home earlier then their "driver" was able to, e.g. the driver had arranged to take them home at lunchtime but due to an emergency or whaetver reason the relative decided to go home earlier. Is it ok for the person to be at home when the Council arrived to do a cross check?


A similar case did actually happen to me. A few weeks ago I dropped an elderly relative at a bank. I said I would meet her at the car park behind the bank. I waited for some time and there was no sign. To cut a long story short, I checked the bank, and was told she had left some time ago. There being no sign of her, I drove to her home to find her there. She had taken a taxi and forgotten about me !

I didn't have a BB but had I done, the police / council would have found her in, and left me explaining why I was using the BB.
clark_kent
We still haven't heard from the OP where the BB holder actually was? To state he cannot recall what happened six months ago is ridiculous who would pay £300 for a towed car and then not remember why it got towed a few months later?
advicewelcome
QUOTE (clark_kent @ Fri, 26 Mar 2010 - 00:56) *
We still haven't heard from the OP where the BB holder actually was? To state he cannot recall what happened six months ago is ridiculous who would pay £300 for a towed car and then not remember why it got towed a few months later?


Clearly the BB holder was not at their home and they were told he was visiting a hospital by a relative. Question is do I have to prove he was with me - and in the absence of that do the council have to prove where he was - or will the Magistrate take their word for it? I can understand if the council go to someone's house and find them there - its open/shut - this is different isn't it?
clark_kent
QUOTE (advicewelcome @ Fri, 26 Mar 2010 - 06:51) *
QUOTE (clark_kent @ Fri, 26 Mar 2010 - 00:56) *
We still haven't heard from the OP where the BB holder actually was? To state he cannot recall what happened six months ago is ridiculous who would pay £300 for a towed car and then not remember why it got towed a few months later?


- this is different isn't it?




Not really you haven't convinced me that you are not guilty and I don't even have the benefit of seeing the Councils evidence. The Council will provide evidence that they consider proves you are guilty, just stating you can't remember anything and don't know where the holder was is in my opinion is not going to convince a magistrate otherwise.
Equalizer
QUOTE (clark_kent @ Fri, 26 Mar 2010 - 09:35) *
QUOTE (advicewelcome @ Fri, 26 Mar 2010 - 06:51) *
QUOTE (clark_kent @ Fri, 26 Mar 2010 - 00:56) *
We still haven't heard from the OP where the BB holder actually was? To state he cannot recall what happened six months ago is ridiculous who would pay £300 for a towed car and then not remember why it got towed a few months later?


- this is different isn't it?




Not really you haven't convinced me that you are not guilty and I don't even have the benefit of seeing the Councils evidence. The Council will provide evidence that they consider proves you are guilty, just stating you can't remember anything and don't know where the holder was is in my opinion is not going to convince a magistrate otherwise.


Clark may be being a bit blunt here. But he is right. Although strictly it is being proven "guilty" that counts. The alternative is "not proven guilty" (which is not quite the same as being proven "not guilty").

OP may not be able to get a statement from the Badge holder for the circumstances of that particular day. But would it be any use getting a statement that backed up the possibility of potential circumstances could have existed that would explain the observations of the Council and still allow the use of the blue badge? That may be useful?

But I would still recommend waiting until the prosecution details are in OP's hands (and posting the points here) before deciding what to do next.
bribri
To go back to basics, can they actually tow a car with a blue badge displayed? even it was being misused. I would expect they would wait for the driver and ask for the badge to be handed over.

southpaw82
QUOTE (advicewelcome @ Thu, 25 Mar 2010 - 17:29) *
The monitoring assistance has provided an official witness statement that is signed by him and sent along in the summons pack. The pack would have been put together by the prosecution team. This statement would thus probably pass the rules to be admissible at the court hearing or trial?


Someone from the council has provided a witness statement saying that your relative said "XXX". That is hearsay and is not admissible. I don't really care which numpty at the the council prepared it - they can't alter the law. Unless you choose to believe that the council are infallible, in which case you'd better just plead guilty now.
advicewelcome
QUOTE (bribri @ Fri, 26 Mar 2010 - 12:23) *
To go back to basics, can they actually tow a car with a blue badge displayed? even it was being misused. I would expect they would wait for the driver and ask for the badge to be handed over.


Actually, when you go to pick up a towed car they ask for the badge to be handed over. They record if you don't hand over the badge.

I don't think there is a database which is checked by roadside parking attendants if the same badge is used in accordance with the regulations. Could I be wrong?

I understand the that police are apparently the only people that can require you to hand a blue badge back?
advicewelcome
QUOTE (southpaw82 @ Fri, 26 Mar 2010 - 13:51) *
QUOTE (advicewelcome @ Thu, 25 Mar 2010 - 17:29) *
The monitoring assistance has provided an official witness statement that is signed by him and sent along in the summons pack. The pack would have been put together by the prosecution team. This statement would thus probably pass the rules to be admissible at the court hearing or trial?


Someone from the council has provided a witness statement saying that your relative said "XXX". That is hearsay and is not admissible. I don't really care which numpty at the the council prepared it - they can't alter the law. Unless you choose to believe that the council are infallible, in which case you'd better just plead guilty now.


Wait a sec. Unless I have my facts incorrect, if you stand up in court and say this person said that - its hearsay. If you provide a deposition/sworn statement of an eye witness who is on your side, that is written whilst on oath - that has to be admissible? In any case, if it was in doubt - the prosecution would just call the monitoring assistant as a witness in the trial and he would give evidence in person.

I guess he/she will be providing evidence of what someone else said.. and thus that is hearsay (..think I get it now). That probably explains why they have two people come around to the home address. The 2nd person has also provided a witness statement indicating that they heard the same statement (the BB holder has gone to hospital). Thus they have two people saying the same thing. I am sure they can use this to gain credibility with a Magistrate.
southpaw82
QUOTE (advicewelcome @ Fri, 26 Mar 2010 - 15:59) *
Wait a sec. Unless I have my facts incorrect, if you stand up in court and say this person said that - its hearsay. If you provide a deposition/sworn statement of an eye witness who is on your side, that is written whilst on oath - that has to be admissible? In any case, if it was in doubt - the prosecution would just call the monitoring assistant as a witness in the trial and he would give evidence in person.

I guess he/she will be providing evidence of what someone else said.. and thus that is hearsay (..think I get it now). That probably explains why they have two people come around to the home address. The 2nd person has also provided a witness statement indicating that they heard the same statement (the BB holder has gone to hospital). Thus they have two people saying the same thing. I am sure they can use this to gain credibility with a Magistrate.


You're sure? Really? Despite me (a qualified lawyer) saying otherwise? Whatever...
Equalizer
QUOTE (southpaw82 @ Fri, 26 Mar 2010 - 16:38) *
QUOTE (advicewelcome @ Fri, 26 Mar 2010 - 15:59) *
Wait a sec. Unless I have my facts incorrect, if you stand up in court and say this person said that - its hearsay. If you provide a deposition/sworn statement of an eye witness who is on your side, that is written whilst on oath - that has to be admissible? In any case, if it was in doubt - the prosecution would just call the monitoring assistant as a witness in the trial and he would give evidence in person.

I guess he/she will be providing evidence of what someone else said.. and thus that is hearsay (..think I get it now). That probably explains why they have two people come around to the home address. The 2nd person has also provided a witness statement indicating that they heard the same statement (the BB holder has gone to hospital). Thus they have two people saying the same thing. I am sure they can use this to gain credibility with a Magistrate.


You're sure? Really? Despite me (a qualified lawyer) saying otherwise? Whatever...


OP - I believe what SP is really getting at here is that all defendants in a court of law have a right to question and test the evidence. You will of course have the right to question the evidence of two people saying they heard a person say a certain thing. But you cannot question the person saying it. Yet you must, in law, be able to question the person saying it. If you cannot question the person who originates the accusation, then effectively, in law, the person hasn't said it. That's the gist of it. It's a fair law. Although I have to say that sometimes it seems the courts fail (or appear to fail? After all I'm not a lawyer!) to make the distinction.

So I'm sure SP is right on this. I would guess the name of the game is to make it appear to OP that the evidence against him is overwhelming so that he pleads guilty "to save everybody time and risk a tougher penalty". Is OP going to plead guilty?

I'm afraid I've come across quite a few cases where people are adamant about their innocence yet crumble and plead guilty under the fear of heavier penalties. In a most recent case a plea of guilty by a "gentleman" purely to ensure his wife wouldn't be "forced" to go through the ordeal of having to give evidence - which she could never have been if only they had better advised! If only these "guilty" pleaders had stayed firm and refused to plead guilty then I'm quite sure the case against many of them would have collapsed (even before getting to court). Some of them got what I considered to be harsh treatment even despite pleading guilty!!

It's OP's call.
advicewelcome
QUOTE (Equalizer @ Fri, 26 Mar 2010 - 17:13) *
QUOTE (southpaw82 @ Fri, 26 Mar 2010 - 16:38) *
QUOTE (advicewelcome @ Fri, 26 Mar 2010 - 15:59) *
Wait a sec. Unless I have my facts incorrect, if you stand up in court and say this person said that - its hearsay. If you provide a deposition/sworn statement of an eye witness who is on your side, that is written whilst on oath - that has to be admissible? In any case, if it was in doubt - the prosecution would just call the monitoring assistant as a witness in the trial and he would give evidence in person.

I guess he/she will be providing evidence of what someone else said.. and thus that is hearsay (..think I get it now). That probably explains why they have two people come around to the home address. The 2nd person has also provided a witness statement indicating that they heard the same statement (the BB holder has gone to hospital). Thus they have two people saying the same thing. I am sure they can use this to gain credibility with a Magistrate.


You're sure? Really? Despite me (a qualified lawyer) saying otherwise? Whatever...


OP - I believe what SP is really getting at here is that all defendants in a court of law have a right to question and test the evidence. You will of course have the right to question the evidence of two people saying they heard a person say a certain thing. But you cannot question the person saying it. Yet you must, in law, be able to question the person saying it. If you cannot question the person who originates the accusation, then effectively, in law, the person hasn't said it. That's the gist of it. It's a fair law. Although I have to say that sometimes it seems the courts fail (or appear to fail? After all I'm not a lawyer!) to make the distinction.

So I'm sure SP is right on this. I would guess the name of the game is to make it appear to OP that the evidence against him is overwhelming so that he pleads guilty "to save everybody time and risk a tougher penalty". Is OP going to plead guilty?

I'm afraid I've come across quite a few cases where people are adamant about their innocence yet crumble and plead guilty under the fear of heavier penalties. In a most recent case a plea of guilty by a "gentleman" purely to ensure his wife wouldn't be "forced" to go through the ordeal of having to give evidence - which she could never have been if only they had better advised! If only these "guilty" pleaders had stayed firm and refused to plead guilty then I'm quite sure the case against many of them would have collapsed (even before getting to court). Some of them got what I considered to be harsh treatment even despite pleading guilty!!

It's OP's call.



Thanks, very insightful posts.

At the summons, I've been given a short adjournment on a plea - so now will need to consider carefully how to plea. Doing the maths...

Not Guilty Plea and Losing
* Its cost about £500 for a solicitor to represent in a trial (if one is used)
* If we lose we have the additional costs and heavier fine (say £500 costs and £300 fine)
Total approx cost £1300 if using a solicitor or approx £800 if I represent myself

Not Guilty Plea and Wining
* £500 for a solicitor to represent and some money back, so £200 ballpark
* No costs or fine
Total approx cost £200 if using a solicitor or £0 if I represent myself

Guilty Plea
* £200 fine approx
* £300 current prosecution costs
Total approx cost £500

I am assuming if a guilty plea is entered, this offence would not appear on a CRB check.

Based on the above posts, it may be possible to dismiss the comment from the badge holder relation (when the Council came knocking on the badge holder's door). However, there is the eye witness account of the council monitoring assistant who sits in his car and watches people parking and then follows them to see where they go. He is saying that he saw me park up alone, display a blue badge and then walk into a nearby building.

Also, I have had the opportunity to informally talk to the prosecution at the summons, to ask for any further disclosure and their approach...

I think the basis of the Council's action is an offence under Section 117 (1) (which requires blue badges to be used in accordance with the regulations). I think the regulations are the 14(2) Disabled Persons (Badges for Motor Vehicles) (England) Regulations 2000.

The summons indicates that the blue badge "... was not displayed in accordance with the Regulations 14(2) of the Disabled Persons (Badges for Motor Vehicles) (England) Regulations 2000 made under section 21 of the Chronically Sick & Disabled Persons Act 1970 in that the holder of the Badge had not driven nor had been carried in the said motor vehicle to the place it was parked nor was to be driven by the holder or to be used to carry the holder from that place"

I will need to review the above regulation and post up a summary of where I think I stand. I wonder if the regulations stipulate that the BB owner "has" to be in the car when parking up (this is key)??

If being witnessed parking in pay and display bay, whilst using a blue badge (without the badge holder) is an absolute offence... *why* would the council need to go to the extend of having to track down the badge owner. They tried in this case and failed other than the inadmissible (it appears) comment of a relation at the home of the badge holder.

...ummm makes me ponder if they really have enough to be successful in a prosecution?
BobBuilder
The Council are using two acts when prosecuting cases. The first is the Fraud Act and the other Road Traffic Act (Misuse of Blue Badge).
What actions would differentiate the two? Are there different consequences to the different violations?

If it were found that the Council were not legally able to administer their decriminalised parking regulations on a stretch of road where the car displaying the badge was removed (e.g. inaccurate signs and lines) does this blow apart their whole case?

If the Council was not legally allowed to tow the vehicle validly displaying a blue badge, in order to seize the blue badge as evidence in the case, does this render the badge as invalid evidence?

If the Council rejected an appeal on the grounds of alleged blue badge misuse, even though the ticket was issued for "not clearly displaying a pay and display ticket" and then the case was referred to the National Adjudicator who awarded in the badge holder's favour, then does this prevent the case still being referred to the magistrates court?

Can the same evidence be issued to the National Ajudicator as a Magistrates Court? Is the evidence provided to the Adjudicator also provided to the OP? Can the adjudicator's view be biased by the Council, e.g. by presenting other days "evidence" such as photos, when the same offence is alleged to have occured, even though no action was being taken in this regard.
clark_kent
QUOTE (BobBuilder @ Sat, 27 Mar 2010 - 11:26) *
The Council are using two acts when prosecuting cases. The first is the Fraud Act and the other Road Traffic Act (Misuse of Blue Badge).
What actions would differentiate the two? Are there different consequences to the different violations?

There are more than two offences that can be used, yes there are different consequences.



If it were found that the Council were not legally able to administer their decriminalised parking regulations on a stretch of road where the car displaying the badge was removed (e.g. inaccurate signs and lines) does this blow apart their whole case?

This is a crime not a parking ticket displaying the badge is the offence not parking in contravention.

If the Council was not legally allowed to tow the vehicle validly displaying a blue badge, in order to seize the blue badge as evidence in the case, does this render the badge as invalid evidence?

The badge always remains the property of the Council they cannot as far as I can se be guilty of having something which is theirs.

If the Council rejected an appeal on the grounds of alleged blue badge misuse, even though the ticket was issued for "not clearly displaying a pay and display ticket" and then the case was referred to the National Adjudicator who awarded in the badge holder's favour, then does this prevent the case still being referred to the magistrates court?

No, if for example you purchased a pay and display using 'forged' £1 coins you are displaying a pay and display so would win an appeal at PATAS but you could still get done for fraud.
advicewelcome
QUOTE (clark_kent @ Sat, 27 Mar 2010 - 11:57) *
QUOTE (BobBuilder @ Sat, 27 Mar 2010 - 11:26) *
The Council are using two acts when prosecuting cases. The first is the Fraud Act and the other Road Traffic Act (Misuse of Blue Badge).
What actions would differentiate the two? Are there different consequences to the different violations?

There are more than two offences that can be used, yes there are different consequences.


The basis of their actions will be in a Summons sent to you. From my experience it is the Road Traffic Act Section 117 only.

QUOTE (clark_kent @ Sat, 27 Mar 2010 - 11:57) *
QUOTE (BobBuilder @ Sat, 27 Mar 2010 - 11:26) *
If it were found that the Council were not legally able to administer their decriminalised parking regulations on a stretch of road where the car displaying the badge was removed (e.g. inaccurate signs and lines) does this blow apart their whole case?
This is a crime not a parking ticket displaying the badge is the offence not parking in contravention.

If the Council was not legally allowed to tow the vehicle validly displaying a blue badge, in order to seize the blue badge as evidence in the case, does this render the badge as invalid evidence?
The badge always remains the property of the Council they cannot as far as I can se be guilty of having something which is theirs.


Am sure I read somewhere that Police can be the only people who can seize blue badges. I thought the Councils generally take the badges and then send them back to the owner with a warning letter - not sure if all Councils do that though?

QUOTE (clark_kent @ Sat, 27 Mar 2010 - 11:57) *
QUOTE (BobBuilder @ Sat, 27 Mar 2010 - 11:26) *
If the Council rejected an appeal on the grounds of alleged blue badge misuse, even though the ticket was issued for "not clearly displaying a pay and display ticket" and then the case was referred to the National Adjudicator who awarded in the badge holder's favour, then does this prevent the case still being referred to the magistrates court?
No, if for example you purchased a pay and display using 'forged' £1 coins you are displaying a pay and display so would win an appeal at PATAS but you could still get done for fraud.

Makes sense.
BobBuilder
QUOTE (clark_kent @ Sat, 27 Mar 2010 - 11:57) *
QUOTE (BobBuilder @ Sat, 27 Mar 2010 - 11:26) *
The Council are using two acts when prosecuting cases. The first is the Fraud Act and the other Road Traffic Act (Misuse of Blue Badge).
What actions would differentiate the two? Are there different consequences to the different violations?

There are more than two offences that can be used, yes there are different consequences.



If it were found that the Council were not legally able to administer their decriminalised parking regulations on a stretch of road where the car displaying the badge was removed (e.g. inaccurate signs and lines) does this blow apart their whole case?

This is a crime not a parking ticket displaying the badge is the offence not parking in contravention.

If the Council was not legally allowed to tow the vehicle validly displaying a blue badge, in order to seize the blue badge as evidence in the case, does this render the badge as invalid evidence?

The badge always remains the property of the Council they cannot as far as I can se be guilty of having something which is theirs.

If the Council rejected an appeal on the grounds of alleged blue badge misuse, even though the ticket was issued for "not clearly displaying a pay and display ticket" and then the case was referred to the National Adjudicator who awarded in the badge holder's favour, then does this prevent the case still being referred to the magistrates court?

No, if for example you purchased a pay and display using 'forged' £1 coins you are displaying a pay and display so would win an appeal at PATAS but you could still get done for fraud.



Am I right in thinking that if PATAS declared that the ticket was wrongly issued, for arguments sake, because the badge holder was dropped off closer to their destination and then the driver parked elsewhere, and PATAS believed that this was ok in the circumstances, does that put an end to the Council's ability to prosecute for blue badge misuse in a Magistrates Court? Or atleast make it less likely?
BobBuilder
QUOTE (advicewelcome @ Thu, 25 Mar 2010 - 18:32) *
QUOTE (Enceladus @ Thu, 25 Mar 2010 - 18:06) *
According to the DFT website.
"The following action can be taken against the person using someone else’s Badge for their own benefit:
They can be prosecuted and face a fine of up to £1,000 on conviction under section 21 of the Chronically Sick and Disabled Persons Act 1970;
They can be prosecuted and receive a fine of up to £1,000 on conviction under section 117 of the Road Traffic Regulation Act 1984;
They could be issued with a Penalty Charge Notice or a Fixed Penalty Notice for any parking contravention;"

Does the summons not say what the charge is?

Enceladus


Details:

.. the badge was not displayed in acordance with Regulation 14(2) of the Disabled Person (Badges for Motor Vehicles) (England) Regulations 2000 made under section 21 of the Chronicaly Sick and Disabled Persons Act 1970 in that the holder of the badge has not been driven nor had been carried in the said motor vehicle to the place it was parked nor was to be driven by the holder or to be used to carry the holder from the place and you used the said vehicle in circumstances where a disabled persons concession would be available to a disabled person's vehicle.

Countary to Section 117 (1) Road Traffic Regulation Act 1984 (as amended)


Even though dropping someone off and finding parking is an offence, it shouldn't allow the Council to assert the BB holder had not been driven the majority of the distance. Not sure that would make any different to the magistrate?



QUOTE (Enceladus @ Thu, 25 Mar 2010 - 18:06) *
According to the DFT website.
"The following action can be taken against the person using someone else’s Badge for their own benefit:
They can be prosecuted and face a fine of up to £1,000 on conviction under section 21 of the Chronically Sick and Disabled Persons Act 1970;
They can be prosecuted and receive a fine of up to £1,000 on conviction under section 117 of the Road Traffic Regulation Act 1984;
They could be issued with a Penalty Charge Notice or a Fixed Penalty Notice for any parking contravention;"

Does the summons not say what the charge is?

Enceladus


Below is some text from a Council Presentation about Blue Badge Strategy.

Enforcement Powers:
• DfT ‘Rights & Responsibilities’ booklet should include
more info on misuse and enforcement
• 3 strikes rule needs to be removed or should be able to
include PCNs as ‘relevant convictions’
• Penalties are not tough enough
• Not priority for involvement from police
• Lack of clarity on availability of towing powers
• Parking tribunals often favour badge holders
• Lack of tools/deterrents – e.g. FPNs, points on licence


I need to take a look at the DfT Booklet - however if it does not spell out that a BB holder has to be in the car when parking and not dropped earlier in the booklet - then I guess their are some beginnings of a defence.

Additionally the presentation has this bit of text about Common Defences used:

Common Defences
• Dropped the badge holder off around the corner and looking for
somewhere to park.
– Absolute Offence
– Phone Badge Holder at home
– Pattern of parking
• Going to pick badge Holder up.
– Ring Badge Holder at Home
– Period of time between vehicle parking and removing
– Pattern of Parking
• I didn’t put the badge In the window.
– Observations when parking vehicle
– Repeated observations and sightings


Sounds as though they need the pattern of parking as well in order to be water tight.

We do not hear about the ones they don't decide to prosecute after a summons or are defeated... are there any??


From their own stats, only 2 out of 3 cases are taken to Magistrates Court (of the vehicles that are towed away).
How many of those two thirds that go to trial wasn't quoted.

Can pattern of parking be used as evidence if there was no ticket issued on the earlier days for "blue badge misuse". Surely if they thought it was an offence on an earlier day they could have issued a ticket or towed the vehicle away then? So wouldn't that make it invalid? What about the fact that disabled people like to go shopping etc in the city centre - isn't that why they have disability parking?
clark_kent
QUOTE (BobBuilder @ Mon, 29 Mar 2010 - 23:35) *
From their own stats, only 2 out of 3 cases are taken to Magistrates Court (of the vehicles that are towed away).
How many of those two thirds that go to trial wasn't quoted.

Magistrates Court is a trial, if you go to magistrates court you are being prosecuted.

Can pattern of parking be used as evidence if there was no ticket issued on the earlier days for "blue badge misuse". Surely if they thought it was an offence on an earlier day they could have issued a ticket or towed the vehicle away then? So wouldn't that make it invalid?

If you get caught it is usually because you have been investigated using RIPA legislation, it is more effective and convincing if there is a pattern of abuse and if you get convicted of using it on 3 seperate occasions the badge can be cancelled and the person who was issued the badge will be unable to use it.


What about the fact that disabled people like to go shopping etc in the city centre - isn't that why they have disability parking?

Yes but sadly there are some parasites out there that feel it is ok to abuse the system intended for the benefit of those less able members of society which is why those that abuse the system are investigated and hopefully fined or jailed. Blue Badges are a concession like disability benefit, using a badge that belongs to someone else is not like chancing parking on a DYL whilst you pop in a shop it is comparable with benefit fraud and is a crime which will result in a criminal record on conviction. You seem to be of the naive impression prosecutions are done solely because someone that was not the badge holder was seen leaving the car, I would be very suprpised if that was the case whilst I cannot know what evidence the LA has in this case, locally we have a very high conviction rate on cases that progress to Court due to the depth of evidence provided such as CCTV footage, covert observation and witness statements from genuine badge holders.
advicewelcome
Hi,

I have a potential Trail to attend related for a Traffic offence.

I will have to represent myself as I cannot afford a solicitor (no legal aid) and do not have the time to get one now.

I think there are websites out there - but don't know if there is anyone I can speak to in order to understand the process?

I understand that basically:
- The prosecution puts their case forward
- There is an opportunity to say there there is "no case to answer"
- If the magistrate continues the defence puts their case forward

... are there any people I can call in order to get an understanding of the process in more depth?

The questions I have:
- When can you state that their is no case to answer for and on what grounds?
- Can you destroy the prosecution case without having to give evidence yourself?
- Can you x-examine evidence when you have indicated that there is no need for the prosecution to bring witnesses?
- If I don't give evidence can you be x-examined?
- When and how do you summarise the case from your perspective?
- What is hearsay evidence and how can I ensure it is not presented or dismissed?

There is a lot of information on the web, but really need someone qualified to discuss this with. Welcome your pointers or number/helplines that can provide general procedural advice urgently?

Many Thanks.




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