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Landmark court case makes spitting a crime in Waltham Forest
A landmark legal case has backed the council’s controversial policy to fine people for spitting.
Two men, who were both issued with an £80 fine for spitting back in February, were pursued through the courts and found guilty at Thames Magistrates Court on Friday.
These were important test cases as it was unclear if Waltham Forest had any legal basis to fine people for spitting by classifying it as a littering offence.
Khasheem Kiah Thomas, of Clarence Road, Hackney, and Zilvinus Vitkas of Beechworth Road, Ilford, were fined in February, for spitting in Lea Bridge Road, Leyton and Bromley Road, Walthamstow respectively, just weeks after the council brought in the new policy.
Neither of the men appeared in court but were found guilty and ordered to pay £300 each in their absence giving the green light to other councils who want to follow suit.
Councillor Clyde Loakes, deputy leader and cabinet member for environment, said: “I am absolutely thrilled that the courts have backed our tough stance on this issue.
“I think now we have tested this in the courtroom and been successful, many of those councils will be following our lead.”
Permission to use a littering bylaw to criminalise spitting in public was granted by the Government in July after Enfield council questioned the legality of the process.
As part of the council’s ‘Don’t Mess with Waltham Forest’ campaign, to tackle anti-social behaviour and clean up the borough, they say feedback from residents about this campaign has told them spitting is a priority issue for local people.
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