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Jo C.
Jo C., Barrister
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 69374
Experience:  Over 5 years in practice
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My son who is 15 was stopped by council officers and issued

Customer Question

My son who is 15 was stopped by council officers and issued a fixed penalty notice for littering under S82 of Environment Protection Act. He was cautioned, asked for his date of birth and place of birth. My son tells me the council officers wore no obvious attire informing the public of their role, and were filming the incident by cameras they had affixed to them. I am concerned that they questioned a child without a responsible adult present, and asked questions which the 'offender' need not answer (Date of birth etc). It is my understanding we are entitled to be judged by a jury of our peers and not some council officers deciding guilt on the spot. The fixed penalty notice states, "Complete this side if you wish to request a court hearing". I am concerned my son was filmed. I think there are some unlawful practises in this whole episode but am unsure how to go about challening it. IN any case, the magistrates courts are not here to issue fines, they are merely an admin court. Your help woul dbe appreciated.
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Law
Expert:  Jo C. replied 2 years ago.
Hi.

Thank you for your question. My name is Jo and I will try to help with this.

What would you like to know about this please?
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

Hi Jo, I'd like to know if the council has breached any legislation as it pertains to cautioning of children, and if they are allowed to film you without your express permission.Also, how can I get a copy of the footage.

Expert:  Jo C. replied 2 years ago.
Thanks

I am sorry but its bad news then.

All law enforcement agencies are perfectly free to caution a youth. In fact, they are under a duty to do so. What they cannot do is conduct an interview with a youth without an adult. In fact, they are disallowed from doing that on the streets anyway.

In terms of footage, law enforcement agencies are free to capture people as they wish on footage. They do need authorisation to conduct detailed surveillance but that isn't what is happening here.

In terms of judge and jury, in fact you do not have a right to that. Most offences are summary only and can only be tried by Magistrates.

Fixed penalties were subject to a challenge on the basis that they were an instant penalty and so void under the Magna Carta and its been decided that they are lawful because you always have the option of refusing to pay and taking the matter to court.

I'm very sorry if thats bad news.

Can I clarify anything for you?

Jo
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

Thanks Jo, the little man will be saving up to pay his fine.

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Expert:  Jo C. replied 2 years ago.
No problem and all the best.

Sorry it can't be more positive as I know Council employees are jobsworths.

Remember that I am always available to help with your questions. Even if I am in Court I will usually pick up a question within 12 hours. For future information, please start your question with ‘For Jo C’.


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