“An appeal is when you ask one court to show its contempt for another court.” (Finley Peter Dunne)
Islington Council has now rejected the representation I made against the PCN. Not surprising really because all I wrote was “I did not commit the traffic contravention alleged overleaf”. Judging by their reply, that must have caused some confusion. I have scanned the rejection letter and posted it as a PDF document.
It’s obvious that all but one paragraph is a standard rejection letter pre-loaded into the word processor. The fourth paragraph is the only one specific to my case. To my eyes as a fully paid up member of the Lynn Truss Society of Pedants for the Protection of the English Language I am appalled at the fundamental linguistic mistakes contained therein. Perhaps we should start to believe those scaremongers who say that kids are currently leaving school unable to read and write properly.
Let’s take it one sentence at a time and see if we can decode it:
“Photographs show your vehicle in the box junction at 19 seconds passed 12.13 and only leaving it at 33 seconds passed.” Hmm!
“19 seconds passed”, shouldn’t that be “19 seconds past”? And what does “12.13” mean? It is customary to denote time using a colon like “12:13”. It would have been better just to write “12:13:19”.
So now comes the fallacious logical deduction: “This clearly means you were stopped inside the box junction”. No it doesn’t! It means I was observed in the box at 12:13:19 and leaving the box at 12:13:33. For all any reader knows from the description thus far I could have been practising three point turns for the whole 14 second period.
“An automatic PCN would only have been issued by the CCTV cameras if you had been stopped.” Oh my gawd, send in the Grammar Police! So now we have automatic PCNs (are there manual PCNs as well?), and is the CCTV responsible for issuing them – really? Perhaps there are no humans involved at all? Maybe this letter was written by some crude AI computer program? It certainly looks like it.
I am speechless – so I will continue to let my fingers do the talking.
What are the odds that my appeal will be allowed (allowed = I win)? From what I can tell from the PATAS newsletters, challenges against Islington moving traffic PCNs only started between January and March 2006. During that period 13 cases were closed, 12 were allowed and 1 refused. Of the 12 that were allowed only 1 was contested by Islington! The remaining 11 were not contested – why?
In the next quarter April – June 2006 (the latest available figures) 39 cases were closed, 30 were allowed and 9 refused. This time 18 were ‘no contests’. According to PATAS there are no cases on file involving Islington Council and yellow box junctions. I can’t believe that I am the first. Perhaps a good proportion of the uncontested cases involve box junctions. I wonder if I can find out?
The big problem for a campaigner like me is that if I appeal with a counter-allegation, claiming that Islington is operating illegally, they will most likely not bother to contest it. That would then leave them free to continue operating illegally secure in the knowledge that 99.99% of the PCNs will get paid without a murmur of protest. The fact that they do not contest the appeal cannot be viewed as an admission of guilt.
Wish me luck!