City motorists may be in for a fine re­prieve

Diamond Fields Advertiser - - NEWS - PATSY BEANGSTROM NEWS EDI­TOR

CITY motorists with out­stand­ing fines could be in for a re­prieve fol­low­ing re­ports that the Na­tional Pros­e­cut­ing Author­ity (NPA) has is­sued a coun­try­wide in­struc­tion that all out­stand­ing traf­fic fines is­sued in terms of the Crim­i­nal Pro­ce­dure Act older than 18 months should be can­celled if no sum­mons has been is­sued.

NPA spokesper­son in the North­ern Cape, Pha­l­adi Shup­ing, said that as this was a na­tional di­rec­tive, he was not in a po­si­tion to com­ment. Com­ment was also not avail­able from the na­tional of­fice.

Ac­cord­ing to a na­tional re­port, the NPA also di­rected that if a sum­mons was is­sued and motorists failed to show up for court – re­sult­ing in a war­rant for their ar­rest be­ing is­sued – the war­rant will also only be valid for two years af­ter the date of is­sue.

If it has not been ex­e­cuted within two years it should also be can­celled, the di­rec­tive re­port­edly states.

The pros­e­cu­tor can, how­ever, de­cide to re­vive the pros­e­cu­tion in the case of se­rial of­fend­ers.

“The in­struc­tion will ap­ply coun­try­wide to in­di­vid­u­als and prox­ies rep­re­sent­ing com­pa­nies. It, how­ever, ex­cludes fines is­sued in terms of the Ad­min­is­tra­tive Ad­ju­di­ca­tion of Road Traf­fic Of­fences (Aarto) Act, which ap­plies in Jo­han­nes­burg and Tsh­wane,” the re­port stated.

Kim­ber­ley Traf­fic Chief, Chris Lang­ford, ex­plained yes­ter­day that motorists needed to un­der­stand the process in terms of the is­su­ing of fines.

“A Sec­tion 341 no­tice is sent to a mo­torist by post for vi­o­la­tions caught on traf­fic cam­era or for traf­fic tick­ets is­sued in ab­sence of the motorists (for ex­am­ple, for an ex­pired li­cence disk). The fine does not have a court date on it but is con­sid­ered a first no­tice be­fore a sum­mons is is­sued. The Traf­fic De­part­ment will is­sue a sec­ond no­tice be­fore ac­tu­ally is­su­ing the sum­mons. Af­ter the sec­ond no­tice, motorists have about an­other 30 days to pay (or to con­test the fine in writ­ing) be­fore a sum­mons is is­sued and the case goes to court,” Lang­ford stated.

A sum­mons must be de­liv­ered in per­son via reg­is­tered mail or by a peace of­fi­cer. Ac­cord­ing to the NPA’s di­rec­tive, the sum­mons must be is­sued within 18 months of the of­fence.

“Fail­ure to ap­pear in court will see a war­rant of ar­rest au­to­mat­i­cally be­ing is­sued by the court. If the war­rant is not ex­e­cuted in 18 months, for ex­am­ple if the of­fender can­not be traced, then the war­rant is re­turned to court for their pro­cesses,” Lang­ford added.

A Sec­tion 56 no­tice (the old “spot fine”) is given to motorists by a traf­fic of­fi­cer, usu­ally for a mov­ing vi­o­la­tion. It has a court date on it. “No re­minder is sent out for this no­tice. Motorists have about 30 days to pay be­fore their case is re­ferred to court.

“Peo­ple who do not pay the fine and do not ap­pear in court are is­sued with a war­rant of ar­rest. In this in­stance, the war­rant of ar­rest is valid for two years, and if it is not ex­e­cuted it is again re­turned to the courts.”

The NPA’s re­ported in­struc­tion to pros­e­cu­tors is that this war­rant must be can­celled if it has not been ex­e­cuted in two years, although in the case of re­peat of­fend­ers the pros­e­cu­tor can de­cide to con­tinue with the pros­e­cu­tion.

Ac­cord­ing to Lang­ford, on av­er­age around 10 per­cent of war­rants is­sued for fines in Kim­ber­ley are re­turned to the courts af­ter two years be­cause they could not be de­liv­ered.

“Out of around 1 800 fines is­sued a month, about 200 war­rants are re­turned to court af­ter two years be­cause the per­son in­volved could not be traced.” Danie van der Lith

WRIT­TEN OFF:

As a re­sult of a na­tional di­rec­tive, some out­stand­ing traf­fic fines may be can­celled if no sum­mons was is­sued.

Pic­ture:

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