"Illegal" number plate-based fines: issue solved

The Privacy Commission has granted police services the right to consult the DIV data bank. The DIV records allow police to find out which driver is behind which registration plate, allowing police to send speeding (or other) fines compiled on the basis of number plates, to the right person.

Last week, it was revealed that police actually didn't have the official authorisation to consult this data base. The consequence was that thousands of fines that had been issued on the basis of number plates, were illegal from a technical point of view.

While the problem remains for speeding or parking tickets issued up until now, the issue has been solved from now on, with the Privacy Commission granting its official permission.

After lawyers won a case before the Court of Cassation last week, a cascade of complaints followed as more motorists tried to have their traffic fine scrapped on technical grounds. However, it is still the judge who will have to decide. The magistrate has the final say and this can be different in each different case. It can be ruled, for example, that while there may been a technical issue, the evidence of the offence is still strong enough to withhold the penalty.