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Clamping ‘illegal’ says magistrate

The Island's top magistrate has said he will keep dismissing charges brought against individuals who take matters into their own hands when their vehicles are clamped.

Maurico Ratteray, 30, of Devonshire, appeared in Magistrates' Court this morning charged with stealing a wheel clamp that was placed onto his car by the Parks Department on January 7.

Prosecutor Larissa Burgess told Senior Magistrate Archibald Warner that Mr Ratteray removed the clamp from the wheel, placed it into his car and drove off.

Ms Burgess said taking the clamp constituted theft but Mr Warner argued that it can't be theft because the clamp was placed onto Mr Ratteray's property without legal authority.

“He doesn't know who it belongs to. If he took it off and threw it in the bushes, would that be theft?” Mr Warner asked.

Mr Warner has previously requested prosecutors to show where private companies or individuals are given legal authority to detain someone's vehicle by placing a clamp on the wheel, a request that has yet to be fulfilled.

“I keep telling you not to bring these charges before me,” said Mr Warner, adding that he will “keep throwing them out” until a defendant takes the matter to the Supreme Court and a ruling on the issue is handed down.

Mr Warner dismissed the charge.

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Published June 27, 2014 at 1:44 pm (Updated June 27, 2014 at 1:45 pm)

Clamping ‘illegal’ says magistrate

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