Friday 2nd November 2018
Reading time 02 minutes 57 seconds
Picture review time 8 seconds
The moral arc of the universe bends at the elbow of justice – Martin Luther King, Jr.If you have ever played Monopoly you’ll know that the ‘Free Parking’ square is a misnomer.
Parking is incredibly difficult in London. Most homes have space for only one car but many houses have been split into multiple flats therefore there are more cars than most streets can contain. I blame the Victorians for their lack of foresight.
One night heading home from work, and fighting through London traffic, I ended up driving round the block trying to find a parking spot. This took over 25 minutes and in hindsight I’m unsure why I didn’t leave the car at the office as it was only a ten minute walk away. Eventually I found the smallest of spaces and using one of my few life skills I managed to manoeuvre the car into place, albeit with the front fractionally sticking out. I did the decent thing and checked on the car a couple of times during the night and other vehicles were passing OK.
The following morning my car was being hoisted to be towed away. I managed to convince them with the use of tears to put it back but the policeman still issued me a ticket. I thought this unfair and informed my local council that I would see them in court.
I’d grown up watching court room dramas with my step mum and if Jimmy Smits from LA Law had taught me anything it was that you had to fight for justice.
In my mind I would receive an apology and it would be a landmark case as they would mark out car parking spaces on every London road consequently ending all bad parking forever. I’d be seen as a hero to the people and prove those wrong who said I should just pay the fine and get on with my life.
Except on my court date I was a little scared as I’d never fought for justice before and it was a little intimidating. My case was called and the judge put me in the dock immediately, she obviously knew I was innocent, and wanted to get it done and wrap for lunch.
Her first words were a shock. “Why are you wasting this Policeman’s time by having him here as a witness Mr. Wills?”
OK, this was unexpected, but I knew I had them. I let the tension build and the judge repeated the question this time in more terse tones.
“I ticked the ‘police witness not required’ box your honour”
There was a stunned silence in the court and in that moment I was a modern day Atticus Finch. My step mum and Jimmy Smits would have been so proud.
The judge looked at the paperwork and her wrath turned from me to the bureaucrat who had made a mistake. Yes I was winning! This was in the bag. Get the parade bus, and lunch, ready.
I was then quizzed by the judge on my version of events. She looked at me, smiled and summed up;
“Mr Wills whilst I can see your point of view that you should not have been issued a ticket, because the car was parked overnight and clearly not an obstruction, you clearly knew you were in the wrong as you checked on your vehicle twice to ensure it was not blocking the highway. Therefore this court finds you guilty and issues you a £200 fine plus court costs. Next case please.”
What just happened?
The judge agreed with me and then found me guilty? Jimmy Smits hadn’t prepared me for this. Victory had been snapped from my grasp and I’m sure I heard Joe Strummer singing somewhere in the background “I fought the law”.
I figured I’d win the appeal, but there was no appeal and I was a criminal. Either I paid the fine there and then or be prosecuted.
I was now one of those unfortunate souls who would have the weight of a miscarriage of justice against me. Like love, the Law clearly is blind.
Picture: I saw this house in a Harbour and it made me think of Through The Keyhole. Who would live here?