IslingtonTribune

The independent London newspaper

Motorist fined for breaking letter of law

19 October, 2018 — By Samantha Booth

THE Town Hall has admitted it wrongly issued a fine to a driver who mistakenly used the letter I instead of number 1 when paying to park.
Francesco Fontani had hired a car and parked it in Graham Street, near Old Street, paying through the RingGo phone service.

However, when he returned a penalty charge notice was left on his screen.

Confused, Mr Fontani, an Italian national, wrote to the council, which explained that instead of GJ18 at the start of the number plate he had put the letter I.

A council officer told him by email: “I appreciate this is a simple mistake. However, the council do not make any exemptions for incorrect details.”

The 35-year-old appealed again at the end of summer, sending the council an example of how the letter and digit are indistinguishable on the number plate.

But the council insisted it was right to issue the fine. This time a council officer emailed: “I am satisfied that the contravention occurred and the notice was issued correctly. I am therefore unable to cancel the penalty charge.”

If not paid within two weeks after that, his £40 charge would have doubled to £80.

“It is annoying as it’s obvious there was no malicious intent from me. I was just trying to pay for my ticket,” said Mr Fontani. “There is no difference at all between the letter and digit – they look exactly the same.”

He contacted the Guardian newspaper’s problems page, which led to the council cancelling the fine.

A spokesman for Islington Council said: “We have cancelled this ticket, which should not have been issued in the first place.

“We are sorry for this mistake and the inconvenience caused to Mr Fontani.”

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