Brent Council accused of 'criminality' over right turn fines in Kensal Rise
PUBLISHED: 13:27 05 April 2016 | UPDATED: 13:37 05 April 2016
© Adam Tiernan Thomas
A driver fined for doing a right turn at a Kensal Rise junction with 'obscured signage' has launched a battle to get her money back.
Heather Jones says she felt pressurised into paying the £65 fine for turning into Bolton Gardens from Chamberlayne Road, as she feared the amount would increase if she fought it.
The motorist, who lives nearby in Hardinge Road, settled the bill despite the council sending her an image of a car she claims wasn’t hers.
She said: “I have now lodged an appeal with a traffic adjudicator for my case to be heard.”
Ms Jones is taking action after the Brent & Kilburn Times highlighted the case of other drivers who have successfully had their tickets cancelled following reports that the no-right turn road signs were obscured she has decided to appeal her fine.
“Initially I was sent a notice with a picture of a car that wasn’t mine and was told by a solicitor that technically that invalidated the fine,” she said.
“I wrote two letters to Brent Council and on both occasions by the time I received a response I had just a few days to reply, rather than the two weeks they state, because it would have been postmarked much earlier.”
Ms Jones also claimed it took more than five weeks to receive an image of her car from Brent Council and when it was sent her registration plate was omitted.
She added: “In my view it’s a ruse by the council to put pressure on people to pay.”
Another driver successfully had his fine cancelled after he argued that the council fraudulently used photographic evidence against him.
Edward Ryder, who lives in Harfield, Middlesex, accused the council of “plain criminality saying they used a photograph showing the new signs that had been installed after he had done a right turn.
The canny driver returned to the junction and took a picture of the ‘obscured’ signs after he received the fine but he claims the council submitted an image taken at a later date.
He said: “Not only were Brent Council knowingly using this bad signage to generate income but they also fabricated evidence against me by erecting and using the new signs in a clumsy attempt to strengthen their case.
“There is plain criminality of fabricating the evidence. It seems to me that criminal charges should be brought against Brent Council or the individuals responsible.”
A spokesman for Brent Council said: “Ms Jones did appeal to the council and as she paid the fine within the period for early payment. “She chose not to exercise her option to appeal to the independent adjudicator. By paying the fine this is considered to be an admission that she had contravened the banned right turn.”
He added: “The adjudicator ruled in favour of Mr Ryder, as it was considered that the council could also have had a no-right-turn sign on the opposite side of the road, which is also now in place.
“Our aim is not to generate income from traffic contraventions, but to have motorists comply with the rules of the road in the first place, which improve road safety and reduce congestion.
“Since October 2015, the number of penalty notices issued at this spot has actually fallen by more than 50 per cent.”