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Rights and the Wrongs
I wrote to you some while ago about the 1689 Bill of Rights as it may apply to on the spot fines. This Act contains "inalienable rights", one of which is as follows: “That all grants and promises of fines and forfeitures of particular persons before conviction are illegal and void.”
As a lay person I take this to mean that one cannot be fined unless tried and found guilty. Whilst it is fully appreciated that Parliaments can (and do) change "inalienable rights" when it suits their purpose, it is a bit rich that our Westminster employees are using this Act to justify their "expenses" but deny the rest of us right of defence in court where appropriate.

Asked on 27 March 2010 by C.H., Winchester

Answered by Honest John
A 'spot fine' or a 'fixed penalty' is an easy alternative to a trial. But, to discourage going to trial, the penalty if found guilty in a court is far greater than the 'fixed penalty'. And even if found innocent in a trial, there are now moves to make the defendant still responsible for all court and legal costs. That's a bit like saying, "admit you're a witch and you'll get a flogging, but if you go to trial and get convicted you’ll be burned alive." Doesn't bear much resemblance to justice.
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