KBT Cornwall Ltd (trading as Armtrac) v Jackson 10/3/2017. C3GF0V9R Truro county Court. DDJ Whitford.
Ms Jackson was new to the area when she visited the notorious Trevithick Road car park scam site in Camborne. She had been warned that the wardens were "a bit keen" so was well aware she needed to pay and display. On arriving she could not see any payment machines. She checked the signage but it did not provide any clues. She tried to attract the attention of a motorist sitting in his car, but he did not look up. She then spotted a sign pointing to a pay machine which she followed. She purchased a ticket and displayed it.
She was therefore dismayed to find on return that there was a parking ticket on the windscreen. Apparently she had paid at the wrong machine.
She appealed the charge all the way through the system on 3 grounds
1) The signage was not adequate to bring to the location of the parking meter to the attention of the motorist, and this was therefore a reasonable mistake to make
2) The charge can only be for trespass, and the ParkingEye v Beavis case shows £100 is therefore too large.
3) Armtrac had no rights to issue or enforce charges.
Wright Hassall dismissed the POPLA appeal with a template which did not properly consider any of the issues raised and was so brief as to be useless. They failed to follow the proper POPLA process and allowed Armtrac to submit evidence which the motorist was not provided with. The Prankster therefore has no hesitation in stating that in his opinion this confirms Wright Hassall are incompetent and biased and that Chairman Nick Abell is a disgrace to his profession for letting this go on under his watch. The Prankster warned the British Parking association that this would happen when they contracted a debt collection company working for parking companies to oversee POPLA.
Ms Jackson also disagreed with the Wright Hassall verdict, although perhaps not in those exact words.
Mick Cooke took exception to Ms jacksons non-payment and got the hopeless and amateurish Jamie Ashford, of Gladstones Solicitors, to file something which almost resembled a claim. It is clear to The Prankster that Mr Ashford abused his position by doing no due diligence. A proper solicitor would have warned his client they had no reasonable prospect of success.
The matter then proceeded to a hearing.
There were 3 KBT Cornwall cases block listed for 10am. Ms Jacksons case was heard second. Mick Cooke was apparently 'in the building' and took part in the first claim, but not the other two. Apparently, although he is not worried about 'going to court', this does not extend to actually going into the judge's chambers.
KBT were represented by Ms Gail Ward, an employee. Ms Jackson was represented by the British Motorist Protection Association.
DDJ Whitlock was in the chair and she opened proceedings by asking Ms Ward if she wanted to pursue the whole claim of £70.86, or only the parking charge of £100, dropping the £50 debt collection charge and £20.86 interest.
Ms Ward immediately agreed, which may be a clue as to what happened in the first case.
Most of the time going through both parties witness statements and evidence. Ms Jackson had spent some time putting together a comprehensive set of photos and descriptions, which helped the judge understand the layout of the car park and the poor signage. Gladstones had "helpfully" not provided the court with all of the KBT evidence, so there was some shuttling back and forth to the judges desk with bits of paper.
They had also "helpfully" provided their template witness statement, which did not address the issues raised, and went off on a tangent accusing the defendant of being incompetent in not seeing the signs. Of course, the defendant fully admitted at all stages that she saw the signs; it was just they were not helpful in the least.
Ms Jackson also referred to a newspaper report on Cornwalllive showing that other motorists had made the same mistake and the wardens confirmed this was a common problem.
She also pointed out that warden Scott Taylor s report stated his observation period started at 11:37. Ms jackson purchased her ticket at 11:34 and then had to walk to her car and put it inside the windscreen. it was therefore likely that the warden had seen the whole thing and had therefore failed to mitigate the situation by warning the motorist.
After considering the witness statements and evidence the judge turned to the BMPA representative. She asked him if he had anything to add.
He conceded that the legal arguments all stood or fell with the signage. He summarised that the layout of the car park was confusing; there was no clear delimitation of the car park boundaries; none of the terms and conditions signage stated which car park it referred to and it was not fair to expect a motorist to go round every sign to piece them all together to understand what was going on.
Ms Ward summarised that there was a sign in the car park giving the name of the car park, and that the name of the other car park was on their sign, so a motorist should have realised that was not the correct machine..
DDJ Whitford summarised the case. She stated that the KBT witness statement was not particularly helpful, as it did not address the issues, that the defendant evidence showed the pay here sign to be disguised under a hoarding, and that the defendant would in any case have had her back to that sign. She was not satisfied that people would know where the pay machine was. She referred to various photographs in the defendant evidence pack to make her points.
The claimant had not discharged their burden of proof and the claim was dismissed.
Ms Jackson was awarded her full costs, to be paid within 14 days.
The hearing shows the value of creating a good bundle, with a witness statement laying out the points, and referring to evidence by page number. Ms Jackson spent some time taking good photographs to illustrate her points, putting together a bundle, and numbering pages for ease of reference for the judge.
In contrast, the hapless Jamie Ashford sent off his usual incompetent tripe on behalf of Mick Cooke. Half the evidence never even reached the judge. The rest was a template not relevant to the case, and with wild flights of fancy and bogus legal arguments. In one statement Mr Ashford even accused Ms Jackson of being there on business instead of going shopping. It is not known why he would make this accusation or what facts Mr Ashford had in his possession to come to this conclusion when he wrote the statement on behalf of Mick Cooke. The Prankster suspects none. Sadly this is all too typical of the standards of Jamie Ashford's department in Gladstones.
The Prankster expects better of the legal profession. Solicitors should not make up things on behalf of their clients.
The Parking Prankster