Thursday, May 29, 2008

Government extortion

The BBC online site claims that some councils (actually, ALL councils) have earned thousands of pounds from motorists in illegal fines.

Fines are said to have been levied despite incorrect road markings and on parking bays which are too small.

Alan Stanton, Labour councillor in Haringey, said the borough continued ticketing two yellow box junctions in Tottenham, north London, even after they were found to be unlawful.

"We have taken £120,000 from people we had no right to take," he said.

The BBC has also discovered the entrance to a bus and tram lane which was incorrectly marked has earned Sheffield City Council £350,000.

Our constitution clearly states .....

That all grants and promises of fines and forfeitures of particular persons before conviction are illegal and void.

It can not be any clearer than that. ALL fines are illegal unless you have been convicted beforehand. This is written in our constitution and is sacrosanct. It can not be changed without an amendment to the Act - the English Bill of Rights - and this has not been amended.

Some people claim that subsequent laws have been enacted which supercede this - but they can not, because it is part of our constitution. You can not change the constitution simply by passing a new law - that law is in itself worthless if it contradicts the constitution.

The constitution is not simply a "law" - it is the rights, freedoms and liberties of the people and they can not be altered by law unless the constitution itself permits it. Some people claim that the same constitutional right exists for us to bear arms - but they are wrong because the English Bill of Rights clearly states ....

That the subjects which are Protestants may have arms for their defence suitable to their conditions and as allowed by law.

See the subtle difference? "As allowed by law". That is the part that enables politicians to change laws so that our right to bear arms is restricted. That tells you that that part of our rights can be modified by law - no such caveat exists for the imposition of fines without conviction.

Some people claim that legal precedents have been set which enable governments and local authorities to collect fines. They are wrong! Any law passed that enables fines or forfeitures BEFORE conviction is illegal - the constitution cannot simply be superceded by subsequent new laws. It is unassailable.

The politicians KNOW this but ignore it except when it suits them. They know it because they use the constitution themselves to protect themselves from laws which - if the simple act of passing a new law superceded the constitution - would see politicians prosecuted frequently. They use this part of the English Bill Of Rights to protect themselves ....

That the freedom of speech and debates or proceedings in Parliament ought not to be impeached or questioned in any court or place out of Parliament

Since that was written Parliament has passed many laws restricting what you and I can say - but those laws can not be applied to what politicians say in Parliament because of the English Bill Of Rights and politicians use this again and again. They can do this because, regardless of what new laws they pass restricting freedom of speech, those laws can not supercede the constitution. It is this part of the constitution that allows David Cameron - if he wanted to - to publicly describe Gordon Brown as a lying dog without the risk of being prosecuted for defamation of character.

Now here's the rub. When you get a ticket it is NOT a conviction. It is a notice to prosecute you for an offence which gives you an advance warning of the punishment should you be found guilty. When you pay up you admit your guilt. What the state is now doing, however, is offering 50% "discounts" if you pay up without fuss.

What they are effectively saying is "pay up now or we'll double the punishment when you are found guilty". Under such a threat most people, quite reasonably, pay up. But now it is revealed that many of the people who have been caught were not guilty - but admitted their guilt rather than risk having the punishment doubled.

This is nothing less than a state sponsored extortion racket.


Anonymous said...

Stan, I believe that the actions of the council in Haringey, in continuing to 'fine' motorists for contravention of regulations they are well aware are unlawful, amounts to repeated offences of blackmail.

The relevant section of the Theft Act 1968 reads as follows:

A person shall be guilty of blackmail if he:

"Dishonestly, with a view to gain for himself or another, or with intent to cause loss to another, makes an unwarranted demand with menaces; and for this purpose a demand with menaces is unwarranted unless the person making it does so in the belief-

(a) that he has reasonable grounds for making the demand; and

(b) that the use of the menaces is a proper means of reinforcing the demand."

Can you see any part of that definition which is not fulfilled, because I can't, and as such, those responsible for continuing this outrageous extortion, in the full knowledge of its illegality, and the Council as a body corporate should be prosecuted accordingly.

Now that would concentrate a few minds, wouldn't it...

Stan said...

I think you're quite right, anon - and it ought to concentrate a few minds. I think you could say the same about bin taxes - we already pay the council to collect our refuse, but not they are making "unwarranted demands" with menaces if we don't do what they say with our junk.