Would a “private enforcement officer” issue a woman with an £80 penalty notice under similar circumstances? Surely not.
A piece in today’s print edition of The Times, but not the online edition. I hate having to type out such pieces, so if you’re not already a donor, please become one now (donation button at the end of the piece):
A man who was fined £80 for spitting when he coughed up a piece of bacon has had the penalty dropped.
Dean Stadham, 55, was standing outside a cafe in Margate, Kent, when he coughed into his hands. [J4MB emphasis. How is this “spitting”?] Moments later a private enforcement officer working on behalf of Thanet district council issued him with an £80 penalty.
Mr Stadham contested the fine but the council took him to court. He had been due to stand trial next month and could have faced a maximum fine of £2,500. [J4MB emphasis] The council has now told him that the charge has been dropped because it could not prove that Mr Stadham was littering by spitting. [J4MB: How many people would have paid the £80 fine in order to avoid the risk of a £2,500 fine? Most, surely?]
“I’m completely vindicated and been protesting my innocence for so long,” he said. “It’s ludicrous it’s taken 12 months to receive this letter, which says they can’t prove I did it. My solicitor will be demanding some apologies from everyone now.”
He said: “I do loads of stuff for Thanet council, I run creative writing classes and run a community art gallery and two homeless charities in Canterbury. I work with Thanet council on one hand and yet on the other it’s them taking me to court. Government guidelines for issuing a penalty charge notice say, ‘Don’t issue it if it’s not in the public interest’ and this isn’t because it’s been admitted what it was: a piece of bacon.”
Mr Stadham is on benefits and said that a £80 fine would “cripple” him.
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