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Tint charge in Montserrat successfully challenged in Magistrate’s court

car-with-tinted-windshieldBrades, Montserrat – 8/29/2016 – Attorney-at-law Warren Cassell has successfully challenged a charge of “driving a vehicle when the front windscreen had a strip of tint exceeding six inches”.  On Friday August 26, 2016 the Senior Magistrate upheld a no case submission and dismissed the charge.

Cassell who was the defendant himself and appeared on his own behalf argued that the offence with which he was charged was not an offence known to the laws of Montserrat. According to Cassell the charge brought against him was section 18 (1) (d) which provides:

“Every motor vehicle other than a motorcycle, intended to be driven on a road shall comply with the following requirements:

(d)      the front windscreen may have at the top of it, a strip of tinted glass of any degree of light transmission, not exceeding six inches in width measured from the top of the windscreen. (our emphasis)

However, Cassell said his charge alleged that he: “…did drive the said vehicle when the front windscreen had at the top of it, a strip of tint on the glass exceeding six (6) inches in width, to wit, seven and three quarters 73/4 inches contrary to section 18(1)(b) of the Road Traffic Regulations, made under section 78 of the Road Traffic Act chapter 07.06 of the Revise Laws of Montserrat 2013.

The Attorney then argued that the charge was not only at variance with the purported offending section 18(1)(d) but did not specify who should be charged.  Additionally, Cassell said section 18(1)(d) provided no sanction which is a critical element to an offence.  Hence the charge was a nullity.

In bolstering his arguments that the State had no case against him, the Attorney further contended that the offending section should have been section 20(1) which reads:

20. (1) A person shall not drive on a road, a motor vehicle that is not in compliance with regulations 18 and 19.

(2) A person who acts in contravention of this regulation commits a summary offence and is liable to a fine of $500, and for a second or subsequent conviction to a fine of $1,000 or to one-year imprisonment or to both.

No reference to section 20(1) was made on the complaint.  Since the prosecution had already closed their case, no amendment of the charge could have taken place.

In the meantime, prominent Montserratian lawyer David Brandt who had earlier successfully challenged on behalf of a client the same section on a different ground has called for the Commissioner of Police to withdraw all related charges and for those charged before to be refunded the fines they may have paid.

Brandt said in a later interview: “I have not seen any windscreen with a strip of tinted glass on top of the windscreen. What is put on the windscreen is a strip of plastic I submitted that there was no case to answer because the section did not say who committed the offence among other things. So all those people who were charged the police should pay them back their money and should make sure all other charges under that section which they had before the court.”

In June 2016, since the charges referred to above were laid, the Road Traffic Act, Regulation 18 amended has been amended relaxing the stringency of the Regulation where the tint or obscuring device had been reduced.

“Windscreen or window requirements of motor vehicles

(a) the front windscreen of a motor vehicle, a film, tint or other obscuring device which allows any degree of visual transmission of light not exceeding ten inches in height measured from the top of the windscreen;

b) the rear windscreen of a motor vehicle, a film, tint or other obscuring device

which allows a minimum of 10%visual transmission of light through the wind screen; and

(c) a front side window of a motor vehicle, a film, tint or other obscuring device which allows a minimum of 15% visual transmission of light through the window;

(d)a rear side window of a motor vehicle, a film, tint or other obscuring device which allows a minimum of 10% visual transmission of light through the window.

(3) The degree of visual transmission of light shall be determined by a tint meter measuring device or any other device which is approved by the Traffic Commissioner to measure the transmission of light through a glass window or windscreen of a motor vehicle.

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A Moment with the Registrar of Lands

car-with-tinted-windshieldBrades, Montserrat – 8/29/2016 – Attorney-at-law Warren Cassell has successfully challenged a charge of “driving a vehicle when the front windscreen had a strip of tint exceeding six inches”.  On Friday August 26, 2016 the Senior Magistrate upheld a no case submission and dismissed the charge.

Cassell who was the defendant himself and appeared on his own behalf argued that the offence with which he was charged was not an offence known to the laws of Montserrat. According to Cassell the charge brought against him was section 18 (1) (d) which provides:

“Every motor vehicle other than a motorcycle, intended to be driven on a road shall comply with the following requirements:

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(d)      the front windscreen may have at the top of it, a strip of tinted glass of any degree of light transmission, not exceeding six inches in width measured from the top of the windscreen. (our emphasis)

However, Cassell said his charge alleged that he: “…did drive the said vehicle when the front windscreen had at the top of it, a strip of tint on the glass exceeding six (6) inches in width, to wit, seven and three quarters 73/4 inches contrary to section 18(1)(b) of the Road Traffic Regulations, made under section 78 of the Road Traffic Act chapter 07.06 of the Revise Laws of Montserrat 2013.

The Attorney then argued that the charge was not only at variance with the purported offending section 18(1)(d) but did not specify who should be charged.  Additionally, Cassell said section 18(1)(d) provided no sanction which is a critical element to an offence.  Hence the charge was a nullity.

In bolstering his arguments that the State had no case against him, the Attorney further contended that the offending section should have been section 20(1) which reads:

20. (1) A person shall not drive on a road, a motor vehicle that is not in compliance with regulations 18 and 19.

(2) A person who acts in contravention of this regulation commits a summary offence and is liable to a fine of $500, and for a second or subsequent conviction to a fine of $1,000 or to one-year imprisonment or to both.

No reference to section 20(1) was made on the complaint.  Since the prosecution had already closed their case, no amendment of the charge could have taken place.

In the meantime, prominent Montserratian lawyer David Brandt who had earlier successfully challenged on behalf of a client the same section on a different ground has called for the Commissioner of Police to withdraw all related charges and for those charged before to be refunded the fines they may have paid.

Brandt said in a later interview: “I have not seen any windscreen with a strip of tinted glass on top of the windscreen. What is put on the windscreen is a strip of plastic I submitted that there was no case to answer because the section did not say who committed the offence among other things. So all those people who were charged the police should pay them back their money and should make sure all other charges under that section which they had before the court.”

In June 2016, since the charges referred to above were laid, the Road Traffic Act, Regulation 18 amended has been amended relaxing the stringency of the Regulation where the tint or obscuring device had been reduced.

“Windscreen or window requirements of motor vehicles

(a) the front windscreen of a motor vehicle, a film, tint or other obscuring device which allows any degree of visual transmission of light not exceeding ten inches in height measured from the top of the windscreen;

b) the rear windscreen of a motor vehicle, a film, tint or other obscuring device

which allows a minimum of 10%visual transmission of light through the wind screen; and

(c) a front side window of a motor vehicle, a film, tint or other obscuring device which allows a minimum of 15% visual transmission of light through the window;

(d)a rear side window of a motor vehicle, a film, tint or other obscuring device which allows a minimum of 10% visual transmission of light through the window.

(3) The degree of visual transmission of light shall be determined by a tint meter measuring device or any other device which is approved by the Traffic Commissioner to measure the transmission of light through a glass window or windscreen of a motor vehicle.