Police will still ticket motorists despite ruling
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Police will still ticket motorists despite ruling

Motorists will continue to be ticketed despite the Central Administrative Court (CAC) deciding police have issued traffic tickets unlawfully since July 2020.

The CAC ruled on Sept 27 that a Royal Thai Police (RTP) announcement which went into effect on July 20, 2020, pertaining to traffic tickets, was unlawful.

The ruling came after Supa Chotngam, a motorist, petitioned the court asking the announcement be revoked. She lodged the petition against the RTP and the national police chief.

The court, which made public its ruling on Oct 6, found the RTP announcement misled Ms Supa into believing she had committed a traffic offence and had to pay a fine with no right to dispute the ticket. It contravened Section 29 of the constitution, according to the CAC.

Section 29 stipulates that an accused person is presumed innocent until proven guilty. No law enforcement authority must treat such a person as though they have already committed an offence.

The CAC decided the announcement was also unlawful in setting fixed rates of traffic fines when the matter should be left to the direction of traffic police. The announcement was made under the Land Traffic Act.

The CAC ordered the announcement be revoked with retrospective effect from July 20, 2020, raising confusion over whether motorists should pay traffic tickets issued since or if the police can continue to hand out tickets.

It was reported that a minority judge in the case argued the petitioner could not be presumed to be devoid of a right to dispute her ticket. In fact, according to the judge, the petitioner was entitled to refuse to pay the fine and contest the case in court. The announcement, therefore, does not cause her right to dispute the ticket to be forfeited.

The RTP has 30 days in which to appeal the CAC’s ruling. If the RTP does not appeal, revocation of the announcement will take effect.

According to deputy national police chief Pol Gen Surachate Hakparn, the RTP will appeal against the ruling, reports said.

Pending the outcome, Pol Gen Surachate said fine will need to be paid at the rates specified in the announcement and traffic police will carry on issuing tickets.

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