Crime & Court

LTA Wrong, Court Rules

Lautoka judge says infringement notice clauses violate 2013 Constitution.
16 Sep 2020 11:40
LTA Wrong, Court Rules

Land Transport Authority’s traffic infringement notices (TIN) have clauses that violate the 2013 Constitution, the High Court in Lautoka has ruled.

Lautoka High Court judge Justice Mohamed Ajmeer made the ruling that traffic infringement notice by LTA contravened sections 14 (2) and 15 of the Constitution.

Justice Ajmeer said in his judgement that a conviction could only be entered by the court, but not otherwise.

His ruling came following a civil case, which was brought to court against the LTA by Pasifika Enterprise.

The Traffic Infringement Notice informed the plaintiff that in the event that the notice was not disputed within 12 months from the date of its issuance, the Notice would be taken effect as conviction.

“The deeming conviction notice not only violates the right to a fair trial before a court of law (section 15 (1) of the Constitution) but also the right of presumption of innocence guaranteed under section 14 (2) (a) of the Constitution. Therefore, the notice is invalid as it is consistent with the Constitution,” Justice Ajmeer said.

On March 5, 2019, a truck driver for Pasifika Enterprise was issued a traffic infringement notice because he was carrying more load than he was permitted to do so.

Subsequently, the company was fined $13,000.

The traffic infringement also stated the notice could be disputed in court and the onus of this was on the plaintiff.

The court ruled that this violated the Constitutional rights of a person to be presumed innocent until proven guilty.

The notice stated: “If you do not pay your Fixed Penalty and late payment fee in full or provide a Statutory Declaration or elect to dispute this Notice in court within 12 months from the date this Notice is issued to you, this Notice will take effect as a conviction and the Land Transport Authority may suspend your licence and seek the maximum penalty and demerit points applicable from the court.”

Plaintiff lawyer Rupesh Singh submitted that section 9 of the Constitution did not provide the power to LTA to act as a court of law or to enter a conviction.

The LTA’s position was that the procedures were set out in the Land Transport Act 1998 and the Land Transport (Traffic Infringement Notice) Regulations 2017 and therefore valid.

LTA was also ordered to pay costs of $1000.

Edited by Naisa Koroi

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