Officer flies 400 miles to testify; charge dropped

Richard Tarran. Picture: 'Vic Rodrick
Richard Tarran. Picture: 'Vic Rodrick
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THE Crown Office was facing ridicule last night after prosecutors flew a police officer from Shetland to Livingston to give evidence about a parking offence – then dropped the charge.

Police sources said it had cost around £500 to bring the unnamed constable 400 miles back from his current posting in Lerwick to West Lothian in Scotland’s Central Belt.

When the case against motorist Richard Tarran called for trial at Livingston Justice of the Peace Court yesterday, fiscal depute Catherine Knowles, asked for an adjournment to check a document which appeared to be missing from her papers.

And when the case recalled half an hour later, Mrs Knowles told JP Sue Clark that the Crown was deserting it “pro loco et tempore”, a Latin phrase meaning “for the place and time”.

Justice Clark told motorist Mr Tarran: “That means the case has been brought to an end. You are free to leave the dock.”

Outside the 58-year-old accused described the situation as “a farce” and said he was “fuming” at the way the case had been handled since he was issued with the parking ticket.

The assistant manager at Poundland in Livingston, took time off work to attend court personally three times just to repeat his plea of not guilty.

He denied parking his Renault Laguna illegally in Almondvale South Car Park, Livingston on May 15 this year.

He said: “I was actually parked in a trolley bay which has been disused for years.

“I got a ticket which said the offence was a Court Code 01, but on the back it was defined as ‘Waiting in a restricted street No Waiting area’.

“It was out of principle that I pleaded not guilty because it’s an unmarked car park with no warning signs that you couldn’t park outside the bays.”

Mr Tarran, of Auldhill Drive, Bridgend, West Lothian, said the prosecution system needed to be reformed so that motorists could challenge police parking tickets with an independent arbiter without going through a costly court process.

A Crown Office spokesman said: “It’s the duty of the Crown to keep cases under review, and after full and careful consideration of the facts and circumstances of the case, including the available admissible evidence, the case was deserted pro loco et tempore.”