Case against Welsh language campaigner who refused to pay English-only car park fine thrown out
A Welsh language campaigner said that he hoped he had set a new precedent after the case against him by a company that issues an English-only parking fine was thrown out of court.
Toni Schiavone was due to appear before a court in Aberystwyth today after refusing to pay an English only parking fine received while visiting the seaside village of Llangrannog in Ceredigion.
But his case was thrown out as there was no representative from One Parking Solutions, which has its headquarters in Worthing in England, was present. Toni Schiavone had refused to pay a parking fine as the penalty notice was in English only, despite him requesting it in Welsh several times.
As he had asked for all correspondence from the court in Welsh, One Parking Solutions had to translate all the information for the court, including a copy of the fine.
Toni Schiavone said: “Seeing as they’ve translated the copy of the penalty notice there is nothing to stop them from issuing penalty notices in Welsh in the future.”
“I repeatedly asked for the penalty notice in Welsh, and I would have paid the fine, but instead One Parking Solutions decided to take me to court.
“Because they had been asked to translate a copy of the penalty notice for the court they did, but it took them a court case – and I haven’t receive the official notice in Welsh at all. ”
‘Causing trouble for themselves’
Mr Schiavone said that he contacted the company requesting the penalty notice and further correspondence in Welsh several times, stating that he would then pay the fine.
“In an area as Welsh as Llangrannog why can’t we expect a Welsh language service?” Mr Schiavone said.
“I have asked several times for the penalty notice and correspondence in Welsh but One Parking Solutions has refused, arguing that it is a company based in England and that they are not obliged to issue the penalty notice in Welsh.
“It would be nothing for them to issue a penalty notice in Welsh but they have ignored the request and decided to take me to court. They are the ones causing trouble for themselves.”
Thanking supporters who came to court he said this set a precedent for the company, Toni Schiavone said that companies had to be legally obliged to do things in Welsh.
“This is just one of many private companies that run car parks,” he said. “Clearly, the Welsh Language Measure needs to to be changed to include the private sector.
“It’s been more than ten years since the Language Measure was passed, and the Welsh language Standards have made a difference in the public sector – more people can and do use Welsh language services provided by their councils’ and so on. So when will we see the same change in the private sector?” “
Support our Nation today
For the price of a cup of coffee a month you can help us create an independent, not-for-profit, national news service for the people of Wales, by the people of Wales.