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Diabetic driver heavily fined for missing car parking deadline to check blood sugar

A man newly diagnosed with diabetes has been ordered to pay a £200 fine for missing the deadline on a car parking ticket by five minutes while he stopped to check his blood sugar levels.
Michael Hughes, of Trevellas, Cornwall, appeared at a small claims hearing at Truro County Court on Tuesday 29 November.
Mr Hughes parked his car in AS Parking’s Twwarnhayle Square, Perranporth, where an hour’s free parking is permitted, on February 20 this year.
He explained that he returned to his vehicle five minutes late after feeling faint and suffering from a headache. He decided to check his blood sugar levels and took two glucose tablets before returning to his car when he felt able to drive. It was then that he discovered a parking fine notice on his windscreen.
Mr Hughes was only recently diagnosed with diabetes, although the diabetes type was not disclosed, and was taken to court by a private enforcement company after failure to pay the initial fine.
Mr Hughes did not send in medical evidence of his diabetes when he initially appealed against the charge. AS Parking director Kevin McManus said that had Mr Hughes done this, the fine might have been waived for a £20 administration fee. But Mr Hughes insists there was nothing in the paperwork regarding his appeal that stated a requirement to send documentation in advance.
Mr McManus said: “It is a common condition and we don’t want to open the flood gates and offer a get out of jail free card every time someone with a medical condition is issued with a charge.”
Deputy District Judge Ian Taylor said: “While I have every sympathy for you Mr Hughes, you did not prove to a satisfactory level in your mitigation evidence of your medical condition. You must send to court all statements 14 days prior to the hearing. The court does not accept last minute submissions.”
Mr Hughes bought a medical note from his doctor to court, but his case was rejected as he did not send the documentation beforehand. He was then told to take this issue up with the court.
As a result, Mr Hughes was ordered to pay a £100 parking charge, as well as a £25 administration fee, a £25 hearing fee and £50 solicitor’s costs.
In his defence, Mr Hughes said AS Parking was acting “unreasonably”. He added: “It is a legal requirement that you shouldn’t drive if your sugar levels are low. I wasn’t going to break the law. I offered in my appeal evidence from the doctor of my condition, but nobody asked for it.”
This is an extremely sad situation, particularly as drivers with diabetes have enough to think about on a daily basis without enduring legal challenges when Mr Hughes was, after all, doing the right thing by not driving straight away when his blood sugar levels were low.
The case raises an interesting argument about what should happen when it is medically inappropriate for a driver to drive away from a parking space.

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