Author Topic: Fixed Penalty Notice - Newhan London  (Read 366 times)

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anisj

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Fixed Penalty Notice - Newhan London
« on: September 07, 2023, 02:45:50 pm »
Hi all

I am reaching out to you for a non-motoring matter. My father (69 years of age - retired) who rarely leaves his home was harassed by an official in London, accusing him of littering by throwing a cigarette butt onto the ground. My father has received a Fixed Penalty Notice as a result.

- My father does not understand what rights he has when situations such as these occur and if challenged as he was on this occasion, what he can and cannot do.
- My father was frightened into handing over his personal details due to the aggressive approach, demands and behaviour of the officer
- The Fixed Penalty Notice he has received is addressed to the correct address but the surname on the notice is incorrect. The surname noted on the letter and notice document is completely different to his actual surname. It's not a spelling mistake but rather a different surname altogether
- The officer (not a member of the police) was nowhere near my father (when the incident is meant to have occurred). The officer casually walked from the other side of a busy road over to my father and asked my father if he smoked before accusing him of littering
- My father did not litter or throw any cigarette butts (as accused). My father does smoke and was not smoking at the time. He smokes roll-up cigarettes (Golden Virginia tobacco) and not branded cigarettes which was what the officer accused my father of throwing to the ground. Also, my father doesn't smoke in public. Probably because I've told him off many a time for respecting the air which other people breath.
- There is no video or photographic evidence to support this allegation
- The letter accompanying the Fixed Penalty Notice states "an authorised acting on behalf of London Borough of Newham Council witness you/gathered evidence of you committing an offence under the Environmental Protection Act 1990".
- The letter accompanying the Fixed Penalty Notice doesn't have the officer's signature on it as it's a templated letter from the council. However, the Fixed Penalty Notice itself states “I have reason to believe that you committed an offence” and this notice is signed by the officer who harassed my father. This Fixed Penalty Notice should have stated the same message as the accompanying letter if the officer was telling the truth rather than having a reason to believe.

I can provide copies of the letter and fixed penalty notice if required.

I hope we can clear my father's name
« Last Edit: September 07, 2023, 03:07:27 pm by anisj »

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DancingDad

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Re: Fixed Penalty Notice - Newhan London
« Reply #1 on: September 07, 2023, 10:22:24 pm »
Simplistic is if you pay the FPN, that is it, all done and dusted.
If you don't, you (dad) may end up with a summons to magistrates court.... though with the wrong name whether that would stand up is a different matter and IMO likely to provide enough hassle that they would give up..... not a legal viewpoint BTW.

Assuming it did end in court, the authorised agent will be swearing that they saw dad smoking and drop the butt end.
Dad will be saying he wasn't smoking and didn't litter.....
Magistrates decision would come down to whether there is sufficient evidence to find guilty, basically credibility of the two parties.
You come across as credible, can the same be said for Dad...remembering that you were not there and he may have been having a crafty roll up and doesn't want to admit it to you.
Why a authorised agent should pick on Dad and ask if he smoked seems weird.
They do have the powers to demand name and address though cannot force the issue without proper police, who can arrest if needed AFAIK
If it came to court and found guilty, fines and costs would be far higher then the FPN.

As I say, not legal advice as such, just saying as I see it.

H C Andersen

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Re: Fixed Penalty Notice - Newhan London
« Reply #2 on: September 08, 2023, 08:49:21 am »

My father has received a Fixed Penalty Notice as a result.

The Fixed Penalty Notice he has received is addressed to the correct address but the surname on the notice is incorrect. The surname noted on the letter and notice document is completely different to his actual surname. It's not a spelling mistake but rather a different surname altogether


Then he hasn't been served with a FPN, you cannot just adopt something that's wrongly made out to this extent.




I suggest someone else in the household writes to the council:

Dear Sir,
FPN ******

The enclosed FPN was delivered to ******(address)on *****. It was addressed to ****** (name), however, there is no-one by this name at this address as your council tax and electoral roll records would show. It was opened in error, for which I apologise, and is enclosed.

Yours....


anisj

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Re: Fixed Penalty Notice - Newhan London
« Reply #3 on: September 08, 2023, 11:02:26 am »
Thank you for the replies!

I've attached the letters (redacted of course), which show the initial templated letter and the signed FPN by the officer which explicitly states "I believe" - which to me does not explicitly confirm he 'witnessed' as documented in the templated letter. Believe and witness are very different statements.

With regards to the council itself, my father lives near Manchester hence does not fall under the council's tax records but certainly votes hence his details are on the electoral roll records.

We're not a family that tries to avoid paying our way - we are law abiding, tax paying citizens. My father has worked for over 40 years and paid all the tax, fines etc and is the first to admit liability if he was at fault. He just cannot stand it (and fights) scenarios where he knows he is being wronged.

I will look to write to the council with what you have suggested H C Anderson. However, I'll hang on for the time being, until next week before I send a reply on his behalf.


Southpaw82

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Re: Fixed Penalty Notice - Newhan London
« Reply #4 on: September 08, 2023, 11:23:12 am »
I've attached the letters (redacted of course), which show the initial templated letter and the signed FPN by the officer which explicitly states "I believe" - which to me does not explicitly confirm he 'witnessed' as documented in the templated letter. Believe and witness are very different statements.

I think you’re reading far too much into it. The wording merely reflects the statutory requirement that the person issuing the FPN must believe that an offence has been committed. One assumes they hold that belief because of the evidence in their possession, including the evidence that the witness could give.

Quote
I will look to write to the council with what you have suggested H C Anderson. However, I'll hang on for the time being, until next week before I send a reply on his behalf.

Your father might be better off dealing with the substance of the allegation rather than playing dumb as to the name on the letter. If he has a credible defence to the allegation then adopting a combative attitude that a court may in future view as “playing silly buggers” may undermine his credibility.
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anisj

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Re: Fixed Penalty Notice - Newhan London
« Reply #5 on: September 26, 2023, 12:00:46 pm »
Hey all

Sorry - have been unwell and away from tech to even reply.

We didn't get around to sending any representation off for the allegation hence my father has received a '1st reminder' letter advising him to pay within 7 days (which have passed) as he only handed the letter to me over the weekend.

The letter states the case will be submitted to the legal team and prosecution proceedings will begin if payment hasn't been made.

Due to illness - I wasn't able to give this my attention on behalf of my father.

Does anyone have any advice?

He is still insistent on his part of the story - he is not at fault. The 1st reminder still displays the wrong name as previously mentioned.

cp8759

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Re: Fixed Penalty Notice - Newhan London
« Reply #6 on: September 26, 2023, 09:34:59 pm »
Well throwing procedural issues to one side, it seems a straightforward question of undermining the officer's credibility in cross-examination. The problem is that this would require your father to cross-examine the officer, and that is not something for the uninitiated. You will not be able to represent your father in court as you don't have rights of audience.

So the natural question seems to be, could you father realistically conduct his own defence in a criminal trial?

If not, then realistically you'd want to look at getting a solicitor to represent him. The problem with that is that the cost of the solicitor is likely to outweigh any fine that would realistically be imposed (a few years ago it was a standard £220 fine for this sort of offence and I can't imagine it's changed much).
I am not on the "motorists's side", nor am I on the "police/CPS/council's" side, I am simply in favour of the rule of law. Section 6 of the Interpretation Act 1978 applies to everything I post as it would apply to an Act of Parliament. I am a Conservative councillor, this means some people think I am "scum". I am not a lawyer.

Quote from: 'Gumph' date='Thu, 19 Jan 2023 - 10:23'
cp8759 is, indeed, a Wizard of the First Order