31 May 2018

The police–a law onto themselves?


The article on the left, taken from the Daily Express of Wednesday 30 May, 2018, is an example of where police officers are a law onto themselves. And stupid, but I’ll get to that later.

See here also: https://www.cnc3.co.tt/press-release/man-ticketed-2000-each-5-tinted-windows.

Let me deal with the second point first, highlighted in the shaded red area.

But there is no specification in the law as to what grade of tint is acceptable.  

Instead, issuing fines for vehicle tint is up to the discretion of the police officer.

Hang on… no specification in law as to what grade of tint is illegal? Either the reporter is wrong or all the police in Trinidad since Independence have been acting as judge, jury and executioner… and supported in this by the entire judiciary!

2018-05-31_08-38-02To check this, I went off to the Motor Vehicles and Road Traffic Act 1924 (no, that is not a typo). Here is what I found:

Section 23(1)(d) states “no motor vehicle the windscreen or any other window of which is fitted with class so tinted, treated or darkened as to obscure the view of the inside of the vehicle from the outside;”

Next, I turned to the Motor Vehicles and Road Traffic (Enforcement and Administration) Act 1978 CH 48:52 [http://rgd.legalaffairs.gov.tt/Laws2/Alphabetical_List/lawspdfs/48.52.pdf].


In the First Schedule, point 61 affirms this.

On the face of it, this is a subjective standard which is against the rule of law. The rule of law requires that law must be accessible, intelligible, clear and predictable (Bingham, 2010). Nothing in Section 23(1)(d) appears to be clear and predictable. Why do I say this?

Most countries have a clear standard – rated in percentage – regarding the blackness of tints.

See here: https://delightandinspire.com/2015/03/18/international-window-tinting-laws-for-cars-driving-around-the-world/

Having a clear standard, with instruments to measure this standard, is an objective test. It does not depend upon the personal view of a particular police officer at a particular time in a particular place with a particular driver and particular vehicle.

Sadly, most citizens do not have the time, legal knowledge, financial resources, or sufficient outrage to have this clear injustice settled at the superior courts, in this case the Privy Council as I fully expect the local courts to side with the dunceys.

The second point is highlighted in green in the first picture. The tickets issued do not have the offence written on them. There are two possible reasons for this:

1) Either PC Duff (see first link to CNC3 website for photo) deliberately did that so the offender would ‘get out’ of paying the fine by challenging a non-offence ticket in court, or

2) PC Duff made a duff and doesn’t know his job.

Of the two, I would not be surprised at either, but I’m voting for no. 2 as the evidence shows me time and time again that dunceys are more stupid than we give them credit for. In other words, when you think stupidity can’t get worse, it’s the dunceys who come along (for the main part) to prove it can.

By the way, how many of you noticed that Motor Vehicle Supervisor II, Dexter Drakes, didn’t/doesn’t know the law either? His quote clearly shows him rewriting the law.