Government’s $ 200 Million Circulation Fine Target Questioned Following Supreme Court Injunction | New

Jovan Johnson, Senior Journalist

The government’s expectation of collecting more than $ 200 million in road traffic fines during the fiscal year hits a roadblock following a major Supreme Court ruling today.

A judge granted an injunction preventing police from issuing tickets beyond fines up to 2006 rates.

Judge Sonia Bertram Linton issued the interim order until trial in 2023 of the complaint filed by Maurice Housen against the attorney general and the police commissioner.

The case also became a class action lawsuit after the judge allowed Housen, who is a software engineer, to represent other drivers and owners of motor vehicles who were ticketed and fined. or a fixed penalty greater than the measures. approved until 2006.

One of Housen’s attorneys, Gavin Goffe, said the order means, for example, that speeding tickets, which are now punishable by a maximum fine of $ 10,000, will have to be reduced to 2,000. $.

Budget documents approved earlier this year said the government planned to collect about $ 225.6 million in fines for road traffic.

Housen argues that the penalties set for traffic offenses under the Road Traffic Act 1938 were not increased by Parliament or the Minister of Transport in accordance with Section 116 of the Act.

Instead, he said the fines would have been increased by the finance minister in 2006 and 2007 as if they were taxes or duties under the Provisional Tax Collection Act.

Housen claims that the finance minister has neither the power nor the authority to increase fines or set penalties under the Highway Traffic Act.

A new road traffic law to replace the 1938 legislation was approved by Parliament in 2018, but did not come into force because regulations to give it bite are not ready and other laws need to be changed. first be changed.

This new law provides for significantly higher fines for offenses such as speeding.

The state director of prosecutions, who appeared in court today on behalf of the police commissioner, but did not object to the orders.

Housen argued that the balance of convenience was in favor of granting the injunction because the current fines exceed what the law allows and added that there was no evidence in court on legal authority. used to impose fines.

He also argued that if the request were successful, continued fines would be detrimental to government finances if the state were ordered to reimburse those affected.

The application was first filed on July 8, but the interim injunction orders were filed on October 21.

In his affidavit, Housen said he was fined $ 5,000 on July 5 for speeding at St Andrew’s. Following legal advice, he said he believed the ticket was issued illegally, hence his action in court.

Housen is asking, among other things, for an order for the government to reimburse people he says have been illegally fined in the past 15 years, as well as a declaration that his constitutional due process rights have been violated by the imposition of sanctions.

Housen was represented in court today by Goffe, Jahmar Clarke and Matthew Royal of Myers, Fletecher & Gordon, while the defendants were represented by Queen’s lawyer Althea Jarrett.

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