Acquittal of woman for cigarette butt fine

In a promising verdict, a court has acquitted a mother on the charge of dropping a cigarette butt. The fine was given out by the private company, XFOR, which is paid on commission by the council to fine people for littering offences. This pay-as-they-punish justice is liable to create over-hasty and erratic punishment. So this aquittal is promising and a sign that the courts can act as a check on unjust fines. As the mother put it, “They should get proof before they go accusing people.” Read on: http://www.southwalesargus.co.uk/news/gwentnews/9714867.Ebbw_Vale_mum___s_relief_at_fag_end_verdict/?ref=nt

1000 people fined for dropping cigarette butts in Exeter

This is Exeter finds that 1000 people have been fined for dropping cigarette butts – many of them were fined £100 or more. Of course, people shouldn’t drop cigarette butts. But fines on this level look less like a reasonable penalty, and more like a money-making venture. Many councils are now making thousands of pounds from littering fines, and the tighter their finances become the more predatory wardens send out on the street to nick people. In fact, the issue of littering is better dealt with through public provision of (cigarette-butt-friendly) litter bins – and public education, encouraging people to take pride…

£400 fine for (not) dropping a cigarette butt

The Manifesto Club was on Radio Wales with the lady who was given a £400 fine for allegedly dropping a cigarette butt – although she claims that she put it out with her foot, then put it in her pocket. What was striking was the lack of public support for her – given that she seemed pretty sincere, and if indeed she was innocent she had had a pretty harsh time of it. Most callers seemed to think that it was good that she was being fined, and perhaps that she should be fined more. It shows the need for more public…

On-the-spot-fines for swearing

Australia is one of the few countries in the world – along with the UK – that has developed a system of on-the-spot fines for ‘anti-social behaviour’ in recent years. And like the UK – the penalties have developed in arbitrary and petty directions, such as penalising people for swearing. The Australian district of Victoria brought through on the spot fines for swearing – and gave out nearly 800 fines in 2009-10. Meanwhile, the UK town of Barnsley announced a similar crackdown on ‘effing’ and ‘jeffing’. Now Australians are out in protest, holding a ‘swear-in’ to point out the absurdity of the…