Clause 2

Part of Road Safety Bill – in a Public Bill Committee at 2:30 pm on 20th January 2005.

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Photo of Christopher Chope Christopher Chope Conservative, Christchurch 2:30 pm, 20th January 2005

The Minister will recall that when we were debating the Traffic Management Act 2004, we dealt with the rigidities in the fixed penalty system and the representations made by adjudication officers that local authorities—effectively, they are the equivalent of the prosecuting authority in the cases that we are discussing now—should have the chance to review the circumstances and decide whether they wish to proceed.

What the Minister said makes it clear that the prosecuting authority has no discretion. It receives the letter of explanation from the person who has had the fixed penalty notice setting out the mitigating circumstances, but if there had been a police officer at the scene he would probably have exercised his discretion and said, ''I am not going to prosecute in these circumstances.'' We are arguing for a similar sort of discretion for the prosecuting authorities, to prevent a prosecution from proceeding.