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Church organist prepared to fight fixed penalty fine in court

By Somerset Guardian  |  Posted: January 24, 2013

Jacquelyn Bevan, of Radstock, at the junction in Westfield where an altercation with a carnival marshal after voting in the police commissioner election was followed by a fixed penalty notice Picture: Staff photographer Kevin Bates BAKB20130116B-085_C

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Church organist Jacquelyn Bevan said she would go to court rather than pay a fixed penalty fine imposed following a spat with carnival marshals as she tried to leave a polling station after voting in elections for the police commissioner.

Mrs Bevan, 52, of Wells Road, Radstock, said she was flabbergasted after being offered a fixed penalty notice six weeks after the altercation on the night of Midsomer Norton Carnival, which coincided with the elections in November.

She has refused to accept the penalty and the fine that goes with it and now faces being summonsed for a public order offence and a court appearance.

The incident happened when a marshal tried to prevent her leaving the car park at her polling station in Westfield Methodist Church close to the start of the carnival route.

The concert pianist had been on her way to work when she parked in the car park just before 7pm and after voting in the hall was surprised when she was stopped from driving out just minutes later.

Mrs Bevan admits using a swear word but says that was as an expression of total disbelief and frustration at the situation and not directed at any carnival official.

She was due in Beckington where a choir of 40 elderly people were waiting in the freezing cold to be let into their rehearsal room and says that she felt she had no other option than to drive round the barrier to get out.

Mrs Bevan said: "I was let in by a carnival marshal who had to move a partial barrier across the side road. I told her I was voting but she did not say she could not let me out afterwards. I was only a few minutes and when I asked to be let out she walked away."

Frustrated, she got on to the road where she was stopped by another marshal and then escorted along the carnival route and out of the Westfield area.

Mrs Bevan said she had not seen any road closed signs before arriving at the polling station and had not realised it was carnival night.

She said: "I very reluctantly have to go court although I have not the money to pay a fine or for a solicitor to represent me. I believe I should raise awareness of this petty behaviour and the small mindedness of it."

Midsomer Norton Carnival chairman Steve Collins said that the road closures were fully publicised and that while the road had been closed at 7pm the marshals would have done their best to help out in the circumstances.

Radstock police sergeant Geoff Cannon said: "I can confirm that a woman motorist was issued with a public order fixed penalty notice. This was for failing to comply with a lawful road closure on carnival night and followed an altercation with a carnival marshal who, for health and safety reasons, was rightly trying to enforce that closure."

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  • skite  |  January 25 2013, 8:17PM

    Hi this has really got my back up !!! did this lady know that when she pulled away from the juntion on the night in qustion that the marshal was hurt by her car ! and was left very upset and crying in pain by her actions . She was very rude to every one that tryed to let her know that she should not be going a long the road ,and she was just about to run over small children the marshal was trying to do her job .it was put up for ages that the road would be closed and it is oly one night in the year i am sure that if you get hold of the carnival club they could also tell you about the poor lady marshal that was hit by her car ,i am not even sure that Mrs Bevan even know that she hit the lady as she did not stop and was intent on going a long a closed road.

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  • QueenHerod  |  January 24 2013, 9:15PM

    There were loads of signs up at least a week (if not longer) before the carnival all round the local area.

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  • QueenHerod  |  January 24 2013, 9:14PM

    There were loads of signs up at least a week (if not longer) before the carnival.

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