St. John’s Antigua- An attorney has indicated that the law under which police institute towing of vehicles does not give them immunity from prosecution.
This comes on the heels of complaints by motorist that their vehicles are being damaged extensively while being towed, and a claim by the police that they are immune from prosecution for damage to vehicles.
Lawyer Monique Francis Gordon, who welcomed the recent crackdown by police who are going after motorists who indiscriminately park their vehicles in the city, said the regulation which lawmen are basing their statements on does not cover then entirely.
She was speaking specifically to section 87 of the Vehicle and Road Traffic Act 2009, which states “that any person authorized by the police commissioner in writing, should not be held accountable for damages cause to a vehicle which was immobilized or removed.”
Gordon said, “Even the police officer himself does not have immunity because if he acts outside the law, if he acts outside the scope of his duties, he is not covered by this section and to my mind if a police officer in the exercise of his duties acts negligently he is not covered by this legislation.”
One vehicle owner has said his car was extensively damaged as the vehicle was towed from downtown St John’s to the Transport Board Motor Pool at Piggott’s while the two rear wheels were locked.
While admitting that she was only made aware of the event by way of the media and eyewitnesses, Gordon said this is “clear negligence.”
She argued that the police could have removed the vehicle in another manner.
“The police are equipped with the right type of equipment to move all-wheel-drive vehicles, because an all-wheel-drive vehicle means that all wheel moves independently so you can’t tow it in that manner. What you would need to do is to lift it onto a flatbed or use what you call dolly wheels which could move the vehicle without a situation like what transpired in that case,” Gordon added.
The police had earlier warned drivers to avoid parking illegally if they don’t want their vehicles to be towed.