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Supreme Court of Denmark

Burden of proof not carried regarding visibility of disabled car badge in parked car 

Case no. 109/2009
Judgment 12. January 2010

The City of Copenhagen

Burden of proof not carried regarding visibility of disabled car badge in parked car

A was given a parking charge for having parked on a disabled parking space outside of a hospital without a visible disabled car badge.
The Probate Court subsequently rescinded the bailiff's decision to levy execution against A. The Probate Court gave importance to A's and A's cohabitant's credible statements that the disabled car badge, which was fastened by elastic bands to the car's sun visor, was lowered when they left the car, such that the badge was visible through the windscreen, and that the traffic wardens could not recall the specific case, but only referred to the normal procedure for levying of parking charges. In its order, the High Court of Eastern Denmark decided to proceed with the execution against A.  The Supreme Court stated that the European Commission of Human Rights in its decision of 14 September 1998 in the case Flemming Petersen vs Denmark stated that a case regarding a parking charge payable to the State involved determination of a "criminal charge" within the meaning of Article 6 of the European Human Rights Convention. This means that the Court, in its hearing of such case, must observe the due process protection afforded to defendants in criminal cases pursuant to Article 6, including the rule on presumption of innocence in Article 6(2) and the rule in S. 863 of the Danish Administration of Justice Act stipulating that a defendant is not obliged to make a statement.
Based on the reasons stated by the Probate Court, the Supreme Court found that the parking authority "Parkering København", which must be assumed to have had the opportunity to obtain photographic evidence, has not proven that the disabled car badge was not visible in the windscreen.

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