Police pay legal fees over parking ticket

Gary Davies in a white t-shirt, and his partner Lisa Johns in a blue top, standing outside
Gary Davies, pictured with his partner Lisa Johns, said police should never have prosecuted him [Andrew Turner/BBC]

Police have agreed to pay the £1,500 legal fees of a driver they wrongly prosecuted for a parking offence.

Gary Davies parked outside a theatre in Great Yarmouth last year at a spot where restrictions had been disputed for many years.

Norfolk Police served him with a prosecution notice but later dropped the case and agreed to pay his legal bill.

His lawyer Ian Fagelson said he would donate his fee to charity.

Mr Davies had been working on a building and had parked outside St George's Theatre in Yarmouth Way on 14 February 2023.

He was served a single justice procedure notice by police but argued if he had committed an offence, it should have been a civil, not a criminal matter.

He appealed online for help and learnt that parking enforcement at this location was decriminalised.

The matter was due to go for trial but Norfolk Police dropped the prosecution in January and agreed to pay his legal costs.

"As far as I was aware, I hadn't done anything wrong. Obviously the police thought otherwise, but they turned out to be wrong as well," said Mr Davies.

"It's quite important that the police acknowledge what they've done wrong and made a clear statement saying as such."

Ian Fagelson, wearing glasses and smiling
Ian Fagelson, the lawyer who represented Mr Davies, said police would not listen initially [Supplied]

Retired corporate lawyer Mr Fagelson took on the case, describing the prosecution as "completely mad".

Mr Fagelson said: “It was bizarre. Gary was being prosecuted for something that wasn’t a crime."

He pledged to split his fee between World Jewish Relief's Ukraine Crisis Appeal, and Magen David Adom, which operates an emergency ambulance and blood service in Israel.

Phil Payne, traffic justice manager for Norfolk and Suffolk Police, admitted the force should not have pursued the prosecution.

In a letter to Mr Fagelson, he said: "Norfolk Constabulary acknowledges that it should not have initiated proceedings as parking was decriminalised at this location some considerable time prior to the date an officer completed a traffic offence report, in relation to your client’s vehicle.

"Any parking enforcement at this location is a civil matter to be dealt with by the local authority.

"Whilst this draws the matter to a close, on behalf of the constabulary I would like to offer my apologies to your client for any unnecessary inconvenience this may have caused."

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