Police should not have been empowered to impose a COVID-19 fine of up to £ 10,000 ($ 11,670), according to the British Parliamentary Commission.
In August 2020, the UK Government organized or promoted more than 30 “illegal rave”, unauthorized music events, or other “illegal rallies” in the UK with a “fixed penalty” of up to £ 10,000. Announced that you may face “Notice”.
The government said this level of fines acted as a deterrent and was designed to convey the serious public health implications of hosting such an event.
However, report The House of Commons Judiciary Committee, announced on Friday, said such large fines should not be decided by police officers or council officials, but should only be distributed by courts.
“A fine of £ 10,000 for a criminal offense is a huge fine and only the court needs to issue it,” the commission said. “When the court imposes a fine, it takes into account the financial situation of the individual. This does not apply to fixed penalty notices.”
Parliamentarians acknowledged that “fixed penalty notices” play a role in the UK legal system, for example road traffic violations, but “the situation of the new COVID-19 violation is not many of these violations. Unlike, it is a reduction of freedom that is considered basic. In a democratic society. “
The Commission recognized that the fixed penalty notice played a “valuable role” in cracking down on the CCP (Chinese Communist Party) virus during a pandemic. However, “in principle, if the crime in question is complex, difficult to apply, and causes serious sanctions, it should usually be the responsibility of the court, not the civil servant, to determine liability.” ..
Conservative lawmaker Robert Neil said the new UK Health and Security Agency needs to review how the government used criminal law during the pandemic.
Authorities need to consider the effectiveness of measures such as fixed penalty notices and “better understand whether their use is always appropriate and proportional, and the model to follow in the future.” ..
In his report, Parliamentarians also mentioned “high error rates raised under the Coronavirus Act and Public Health Regulations,” and “the importance of the need for a future pandemic plan to consider the role of criminal law.” Shows sex .. “
The Commission cited evidence given by barrister Pippa Woodrow, who stated that 100% (about 250) of those charged under the Coronavirus Act were falsely charged.
The Campaign Group’s fair trial told the Commission that the error rate of prosecution was unacceptable, and these errors “endangered fundamental rights and justice in this crisis and threatened confidence in the criminal justice system. “.
In response to a report from the Judiciary Committee, a government spokesperson said: The overwhelming majority of people have played a role in controlling the virus, but it is true that it had a strong deterrent against those who violated the rules most severely. “
A spokeswoman said the government’s measures against COVID-19 were “proportional and appropriate,” but “the government will eventually respond to the Commission’s report.”
Lily Zhou contributed to this report.