A businessman has been fined £60 and had his driving licence endorsed for blowing his nose while stuck in a traffic jam.
Michael Mancini, a furniture restorer from Prestwick, Ayrshire, was given the fixed penalty and docked three penalty points after leaning over and pulling out a paper handkerchief to wipe his nose when stuck in Ayr High Street. Mancini said that his van was in neutral with its handbrake on, and that he was flabbergasted when he was signalled into a parking bay by an approaching policeman.
Matters became “a little bit surreal”, he said, when he wound down his window and was promptly charged by the stern-faced PC Stuart Gray, a man known locally as “Shiny Buttons” in recognition of his zealous attention to detail. “I honestly thought it was a joke,” said Mancini, 39, who was booked for failing to be in control of his vehicle.
“I said, ‘You’ve got to be kidding’. But he was absolutely deadpan. He’s a policeman, so you’re not going to start shouting abuse at him. I thought, ‘What is the world coming to?’ You pick the papers up every day and they are full of horror stories — but this bloke has nothing more to do with his time.”
We have murders, rapes, robberies. We also have runny noses.
PC Gray earned notoriety for doling out a £50 fine to Stewart Smith, another Ayr man, who dropped a £10 note from his back pocket. Mr Smith was charged with littering.
Ladies and gentlemen we have ourselves a fascist! That is beyond human comprehension. Not even Bill Gates goes around chucking the folding-stuff about with gay abandon. Coins, yes, he chucked a few hundreds worth of quarters at Steve Job’s conservatory when Zune was revealed for all to see as the crock it truly was. Some of us know things. Dark things. I, for example, know how to give Ballmer a stiffy in just two words…
Mr Mancini’s first instinct after his arrest last October was to contact the press and express his outrage, but he decided instead to give Strathclyde Police the opportunity to drop the case. They did not, and last week the local procurator fiscal reaffirmed his determination to proceed.
Well they would wouldn’t they? I mean it’s not as if anyone is commiting real crimes in Strathclyde is it. And let’s face it… A middle-aged furniture restorer has a much easier collar to feel than some tooled-up Albanian gangster who is ripped to the tits on crystal meth.
The district court has no power to award costs, so even if Mancini’s case is dismissed, he may face considerable expense.
“It is absolutely crazy, but I have no option but to press on,” Mancini said. “The police must show some common sense. I believe absolutely in road safety, but I am not going to sit back and accept a £60 fine and three points on my licence for something that I didn’t do. I will fight this all the way.”
Good on Mr Mancini!
Bill Aitken, MSP, the Conservative justice spokesman in the Scottish Parliament, condemned the police behaviour as perverse. “Frankly, when this sort of thing happens, it is quite depressing for those of us who wish to uphold the Scottish legal system. This matter should proceed no further.”
Good on Mr Aitken! Except it should go much further. Mr Mancini deserves a full apology and PC Gray deserves to spend the rest of his career valeting the force’s 1.6L Astra diesel squad cars if he’s bloody lucky.
PS. Never utter the phrase “core dump” to Ballmer. I did once and got away with it by spraying him with a pressure-washer but it was a close run thing. You might not be so fortunate. And having his Vista forcibly installed is something I wouldn’t wish on Osama bin Laden. Not that it would install – well, not without much kicking and screaming anyway.
Via The Times.