Manchester City Council is using public surveillance cameras unlawfully to prosecute motorists, a leading traffic lawyer has claimed.
Nick Freeman, dubbed Mr Loophole by the media, has been given information that at least four cameras, sited on busy commuter routes into the city, are being used to illegally raise revenue by issuing fines to drivers miss-using bus lanes.
If this is the case, the council could be faced with a financial nightmare as any motorist penalised by evidence from the four would automatically have the right to have their fines repaid.
To clarify the situation, a Freedom of Information request was sent to the council, asking for answers to a set of questions relating to the use of the cameras. However, the city council has so far failed to respond despite an initial assurance that they would do so.
Mr Freeman, who received the information from an undisclosed source, said. “It is totally unlawful for the council to raise revenue by using public surveillance cameras for none specified purposes.
“If this is proven to be the case, and the council have remained silent in refuting these allegations, then all members of the public who have paid fines will be entitled to a full reimbursement.
“I am aware of four cameras but bearing in mind the stance taken by Manchester City Council, I wonder how prevalent this practice is, how long it has continued for and the quantum of the fines levied?”
Mr Freeman, who is best known for successfully defending some of the country’s top celebrities including David Beckham, Wayne Rooney and most recently Jermaine Defoe, is now calling for Manchester City Council to answer the questions and prove their innocence.
He concluded: “Now we have to wonder, is Manchester City Council alone in their actions? Illegal revenue raising is in effect obtaining a pecuniary advantage by deception, and if it is proven to be true, a criminal investigation must proceed.”
He said: “I’m delighted for my client that the CPS has dropped its appeal. However, while it has taken them an awfully long time to come to their senses, Mr Woodgate has had this hanging over his head.“