Judge eager for new traffic fines
Presiding Judge Peter Wilson could not mask his enthusiasm at yesterday's sitting of the Corporate Area Traffic Court, as he waited to enforce the full brunt of the new Road Traffic Act which took effect today.
"Tomorrow (today) starts a new day; it is a new dawn. Things ago different you know," Wilson said. Taxi operators who were brought before him yesterday received a special discount on their penalties. The offenders were charged with operating without a road licence and not having public passenger vehicle (PPV) insurance. They were each fined $20,000 or 30-days' imprisonment for no road licence, and $2,000 or 30 days' imprisonment for not having PPV insurance.
"Everything going up tomorrow, so I giving you it while on sale. Come February 1st , I get back my new and improved sharpened teeth," the judge added.
One taxi operator could call himself lucky after leaving court without his licence being suspended. He pleaded guilty to two counts of driving without a seatbelt, having more than the required number of persons in his vehicle and for going 83 miles per hour in a 50 mile per hour zone. His fines totalled $10,000, or 30 days' imprisonment. Eight demerit points were added to his licence, two short of the number that results in a suspended licence.
"That would mean you on chalk line, but they disappear tomorrow, so yuh get weh free. Looks like it work out for you," Wilson told the driver. Demerit points accrued before February 1, 2018 are removed under the new act.
The judge also advised persons who may be returning to courts to pay tickets they say they have already paid to store receipts in a Bible or a safe place. This came after a taxi operator said he paid tickets for not wearing a seatbelt and not having a headlamp in 2012 and 2015, respectively. However, he had no proof that the fines were paid as he did not have a receipt and the court record did not reflect his claim.
The judge was minded to have the operator's matter listed for another date to allow court administrators to make the necessary checks. But the operator asked for the fines.
"Every time I get stop, the police a tell me that I have these two tickets. I just want to get it over and done with, you can proceed," the operator said. He was fined $2,000 or 30 days' imprisonment for not wearing a seatbelt, and $5,000 or 30 days' imprisonment for not having a headlamp. He also amassed six demerit points.