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Magistrate dismisses charge for ‘illegal’ clamping

Senior Magistrate Archibald Warner issued a scathing rebuke against the prosecution and Bermuda Hospitals Board for ‘illegally' clamping a Paget man's auxiliary cycle.

Mr Warner dismissed charges against Tracy Lema, 41, of Cobb's Hill, who appeared in court this morning, accused of wilfully damaging a Master Lock that was placed on his cycle after he parked in a reserved parking spot at the King Edward Memorial VII Hospital.

Mr Lema had parked his cycle in a bay on April 10 when security at the hospital placed a lock on his cycle's front wheel, prosecutor Takiyah Burgess told the court. A security guard later saw Mr Lema remove the entire wheel from the bike, at which point a lock was placed on the rear wheel.

Later that day, a security guard noticed the cycle had disappeared altogether, at which point the police were called.

Searching the area, police found Mr Lema pushing his one-wheeled cycle along Berry Hill Road.

“I told them I was going to break it if they didn't take it off,” Mr Lema told police after handing them the broken lock.

Mr Warner asked Ms Burgess where in the law it stated that the Bermuda Hospitals Board had the legal authority to clamp a person's vehicle.

Ms Burgess argued that Mr Lema had damaged the hospital's property, but Mr Warner pointed out: “You have brought him here and charged him. They trespassed on his cycle and put the lock on it. People cannot interfere with persons or their property except by lawful authority.”

Mr Warner also pointed to similar clampings by the Corporation of Hamilton, saying though they do not have legal authority to clamp people's vehicles but they continue to do so.

“They think they can do whatever they want to do,” said Mr Warner of the Corporation.

A spokesperson for the Bermuda Hospital Board late today said: “BHB became aware of the Senior Magistrate's ruling on clamping this morning. The hospital was not a part of the proceedings in court today. BHB is reviewing the details of this matter.”

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Published May 05, 2014 at 1:08 pm (Updated May 05, 2014 at 8:49 pm)

Magistrate dismisses charge for ‘illegal’ clamping

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