Bus Ticket Fine Turns Kafkaesque
A man charged with riding a bus in Pärnu without a ticket when he was actually in Beijing took his case to court, since the institutions involved refused to admit their mistake.
Reigo Neerut found out in early January that his bank account has been frozen because of an outstanding fine for riding a bus without a valid ticket in Pärnu. The initial fine was 19 euros, after bailiff’s fees it amounted to 59 euros, ETV reported on Wednesday.
The only snag was that Neerut was on the other side of the world, in Beijing, at the time of the alleged offense.
Janek Pool from the Estonian Chamber of Bailiffs said that if the execution documents have been incorrectly issued, the fault lies with the issuer - in this case, the Pärnu city government. According to Pool, it would be unrealistic to demand that bailiffs performed check-ups on all documents presented to them - more than 100,000 a year.
Neerut went to the Ministry of Justice, the Chamber of Bailiffs and the Pärnu city government with his passport, proving he was abroad at the time of the offense, but no institution would admit a mistake has been made.
Although he won the case in court, and the city government admitted it was wrong and the bailiffs returned the impounded sum, Neerut compared the situation to the 1990s, when, he said, the bailiffs were above the law.
Pool said the bailiffs must act according to what the law states and it would violate the rule of law if the bailiffs were to delve into claims passed to them and begin to pick and choose according to principles known only to them.