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Frank Seepersad

A Arouca man, whose driving permit was suspended for six months after he received three tickets in the space of five months last year, has sued the Licensing Authority.

When the case brought by Zachary De Silva against the authority and the Transport Commissioner came up for virtual hearing yesterday morning, High Court Judge Frank Seepersad ordered that the Office of the Attorney General be joined.

Seepersad said that the case needed to be resolved as it potentially affected drivers, who face suspension for repeated traffic offences under the recently introduced demerit points system like De Silva.

Seepersad noted that the case dealt with aspects of an amendment to the Motor Vehicle and Road Traffic Act, which deal with the discretion of the authority and commissioner to suspend the permits of errant drivers.

Seepersad also said that he had to decide whether he could hear the case as the legislation, which was also brought to reduce the backlog of traffic cases in the Magistrate’s Courts, is solely dealt with there.

De Silva received his first ticket after he was caught using his cellphone while driving in May.

Two months later, he received another ticket for breaching a traffic sign.

The last ticket was issued in September for having a front passenger without a seat belt.

In his court filings, De Silva said he believed that he would not receive demerit points if he paid the fines.

The authority gave De Silva an opportunity to present a mitigation plea and then still decided to suspend his permit for having between 10 and 14 points within a three year period.

Under the legislation, suspensions vary between six months and two years depending on the number of points accumulated.

In the lawsuit, De Silva is claiming that the authority’s move to carry out the provisions of the legislation was harsh, oppressive and disproportionate in the circumstances.

During preliminary discussion with the parties, Seepersad also noted that De Silva’s claim over ignorance of how the demerit points system works was not a valid claim against his suspension.

De Silva was represented by Devvon Williams and Kimaada Ottley, while Rachel Theophilus and Savitri Maharaj represented the authority and commissioner.

The case is scheduled to come up for hearing on January 19.