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Private parking fine quashed by judge

Over the past few months there’s been a lot in the news about parking companies handing out large fines. Now it’s been revealed that one recipient of such a penalty has managed to have the fine quashed. It’s a reminder for all motorists, including those who have private plates, that the fines from parking on private land aren’t criminal charges and can, therefore, be fought through the judicial system.

Mr Cargius, a Wrexham resident, travelled to Snowdonia for a hiking excursion. He paid £4 for a four-hour stay in the car park, but having gashed his knee whilst walking, ended up taking the Snowdon Mountain Railway home. As a result, Parking Eye, the company in charge of the car park, fined Mr Cargius £100.

Taking the case to Wrexham Magistrates, a judge deemed the £100 fine to be excessive. Legally, private car parking firms are only supposed to charge people who overstay by the amount of lost revenue. In this case, the judge deemed the fine to be a penalty for overstaying, not a charge that recovered parking costs. District Judge C Mahy expressed that Mr Cargius had been charged a significant sum:

“I accept that once a motorist fails to comply with the terms and conditions searches have to be made of the DVLA, letters sent out and so on. But in my judgement, and without any evidence to the contrary, the charge in this case of £100 is likely on the balance of probabilities to far exceed the loss of the claimant.” Mr Cargius overstayed for an hour and 23 minutes, and Judge Mahy expressed that Parking Eye could have been satisfied with an additional £2. Therefore, £100 was “totally disproportionate to the level of Parking Eye’s loss.”

Before the trial, Mr Cargius had offered to pay Parking Eye £10. However, since this was rejected, Judge Mahy awarded him £165 costs. He said that he’d been expecting to lose the trial because he was going up against such a large company, but hopes that Parking Eye takes a more sensible approach to charges in the future.

This incident shows that cases against major companies, such as Parking Eye, can be fought and won. It will give hope for many motorists across the country who are charged excessive penalties when they’ve only overstayed for a few minutes and may not have realised they’d been tracked by automatic registration readers.

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