Pregnant woman fined for making vital emergency stop

PUBLISHED: 12:08 31 January 2007 | UPDATED: 14:25 07 September 2010

By Marijke Peters A WOMAN whose car was towed away when she stopped for emergency medical treatment has won an appeal against Haringey Council. Laila Darwish was seven and a half months pregnant when she and her partner Carey Marks parked outside Toff s

By Marijke Peters

A WOMAN whose car was towed away when she stopped for emergency medical treatment has won an appeal against Haringey Council.

Laila Darwish was seven and a half months pregnant when she and her partner Carey Marks parked outside Toff's fish and chip shop on Muswell Hill Broadway last August. She started to feel dizzy and sick and so immediately went to a nearby midwife. They returned four minutes after the meter ran out - but the car had been removed.

Mr Marks appealed against the ticket and this week an independent adjudicator ruled in his favour.

Mr Marks said: "I was worried about my girlfriend so we went to our midwife who was nearby.

"I knew the car was there but I decided it wasn't important - when I saw the time was running out we rushed back.

"I felt sick when I saw the car had gone, it was ridiculous."

Mr Marks paid £190 to retrieve his car but immediately contacted the council to explain the couple's circumstances.

He sent them a letter from a midwife at the surgery they had visited but was told he needed proof from the doctor and decided to launch an appeal.

He said: "I get really angry when the council just tows away cars indiscriminately, especially as our car wasn't causing any obstruction.

"The council is meant to be serving us but this illustrates that it isn't, it's just trying to raise revenue.

"I accept that if people stay over the limit they have to pay a fine. But the council showed no feeling here at all. They didn't care about my pregnant girlfriend or that she was sick."

Haringey Council has now been ordered to repay the penalty and the tow charge to Mr Marks.

A council spokesman said: "In this case we accepted Mr Carey's mitigating circumstances and therefore did not contest his appeal which was in train when he submitted his supporting information to us.

"Our parking attendants have to follow the rules strictly but we are happy to look into particular circumstances raised by people who have concerns about tickets issued, as in this case, and take action where appropriate."

Mr Marks said: "I'm really pleased the adjudicator ruled in our favour, he must have looked at the facts and seen what happened and realised it was nonsense.

"The council could have resolved this much earlier it has wasted my time and the courts' time and have showed no compassion."

Simon Aldridge from the London Motorists Action Group said: "This sounds very predatory and it's not supposed to be at all. Unfortunately statistics for Haringey show the number of parking tickets issued over the past five years has gone up and up.

"In human terms what happened here is disgraceful and totally out of proportion to the offence of being four minutes late."

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