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Following a Supreme Court ruling, the government’s $200 million traffic fee objective is uncertain.

Following a Supreme Court ruling, the government’s $200 million traffic fee objective is uncertain.

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An injunction prohibiting the police from writing traffic citations with fines higher than those levied in 2006 has been granted by a Supreme Court judge.

Reporter Jovan Johnson, Senior Staff

Following a significant Supreme Court decision today, the government’s goal of collecting over $200 million in traffic penalties this fiscal year is now in jeopardy.

A judge has issued an injunction preventing the police from writing traffic tickets with fines higher than those levied in 2006.

The interim order was made by Justice Sonia Bertram Linton prior to the trial of Maurice Housen’s lawsuit against the Attorney General and the Commissioner of Police, which is scheduled to take place in 2023.

The judge allowed software engineer Housen to represent other motorists and motor vehicle owners who received traffic tickets and paid fines or fixed penalties above the limits permissible up to 2006. As a result, the case has also turned into a class action lawsuit.
Gavin Goffe, one of Housen’s attorneys, explained that the judgment requires, for instance, that speeding citations with a $10,000 maximum fine be reduced to $2,000.
According to budget documents that were authorized earlier this year, the government anticipated receiving about $225.6 million in road traffic fines.
According to Housen, the 1938 Road Traffic Act’s fixed fines for traffic offenses have not been adjusted in compliance with Section 116 of the Act by either the Parliament or the Minister of Transportation.

Instead, he said that under the Provisional Collection of Taxes Act, the finance minister allegedly increased the fines in 2006 and 2007 as if they were taxes or duties.

The finance minister, according to Housen, lacks the ability to raise fines or set penalties under the road traffic statute.

The Parliament adopted a new road traffic act in 2018 to replace the 1938 law, but it has not yet been put into effect since the regulations giving it teeth are not yet complete and other laws need to be updated first.

The punishments under that new law are much higher for offenses like speeding.

The police commissioner’s representative, the Director of State Proceedings, who appeared in court today, did not object to the rulings.

Due to the fact that existing fines are higher than what the law permits, according to Housen, the balance of convenience weighs in favor of issuing the injunction. He also claimed that the legal basis for the current fines has not been proven in court.

Additionally, he contended that if the lawsuit is successful and the state is ordered to reimburse the affected individuals, continuing to impose the fines would be financially harmful to the government.

Although the orders for a temporary injunction were obtained on October 21, the claim was initially filed on July 8.

Housen said in his affidavit that he was given a $5,000 fine for speeding in St Andrew on July 5. He stated that he believes the ticket was issued improperly and is taking legal action as a result after receiving legal counsel.

Housen is requesting, among other things, that the government reimburse those who, in his opinion, have been wrongfully fined over the past 15 years, as well as a statement that the enforcement of the penalties has violated his constitutional right to due process.

The defendants were represented in court today by Queen’s Counsel Althea Jarrett, while Goffe, Jahmar Clarke, and Matthew Royal from Myers, Fletcher & Gordon represented Housen.


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