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Wednesday, May 15, 2024

Ignorance of Law is no excuse ! - Traffic violation by high and mighty !!


Literacy is the ability to read and write. Literacy can be understood to be -"particular ways of thinking about and doing reading and writing" with the purpose of understanding or expressing thoughts or ideas in written form in some specific context of use – then there is ‘legal literacy’ !? 

“Ignorantia Juris Non Excusat” means that ignorance of the law is no excuse. This principle places the responsibility on individuals to know and follow the law, regardless of whether they were aware of the law or not. In other words, a person cannot avoid persecution or  liability by claiming that they did not know the law.

For instance, a person caught travelling in a public transport  without a ticket cannot claim ignorance of the law as a defence and will be punished.

Miles away, in UK – read this interesting report in Mail Online -  A magistrate who was caught speeding while dashing to court has denied seeking to 'curry favour' when he brought up his JP status while appearing in court for the offence.

Robert Gonouya, 52, told fellow magistrates that he inadvertently broke the speed limit while rushing to sit on the bench.The school governor has now been issued with formal advice for misconduct after a panel found he had breached a 'declaration and undertaking' magistrates sign upon appointment 'to inform their bench chair of any involvement they have in impending court proceedings'.

The Judicial Conduct Investigations Office (JCIO) added in a statement: 'Magistrates are also advised to avoid personal reference to their position as a magistrate in circumstances where it could be perceived as an attempt to influence or gain advantage.'The slap on the wrist means Mr Gonouya, of Sutton-in-Ashfield, Nottinghamshire, can carry on dishing out fines, penalty points and disqualifications to drivers who appear before him.

Mr Gonouya was caught driving at 35mph in a 30mph zone on Rosemary Street in Mansfield, just yards from the town's magistrates court where he has sat on the Nottinghamshire bench since 2021.'I didn't know the camera was there', he said. 'It's not like I was doing 100mph – it could happen to anyone.'It's something that was clearly unintentional.' He said of the December 2022 incident: 'It happened at ten minutes to 2pm and I was on my way into court for the (2pm) afternoon session.

The JCIO statement said Mr Gonouya had apologised for not informing his bench chair and explained that he intended to do so after the case had concluded.'In recommending formal advice, the panel considered that Mr Gonouya had acted naïvely but had learnt from his mistakes and was unlikely to repeat them.'

Nottinghamshire magistrates hit Mr Gonouya, who is the General Secretary of the UK-based Zimbabwe Diaspora Nation Building Initiative, with a £207 fine, £82 victim surcharge, £90 costs and endorsed his licence with three penalty points.

Interesting !

With regards – S Sampathkumar

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