It happens, it annoys us and in Sydney its only a matter of time; but the last ticket I got was unfair and as a matter of principal I wanted to dispute it. Yet in the archaic bureaucracy that is not a simple process and yesterday I found myself at the Sydney Court House waiting my turn before the magistrate to plead not-guilty.
I am so glad I chose this path of action, not because of my outcome but rather to hear the cases appearing before mine. The young man to my sitting to my left was was representing his late father who prior to his passing, had in the company vehicle incurred a infringement notice - speeding fine. This young man does not work in his father’s organisation, he is merely a university student that was listed as a part of his father’s company most likely for legal and taxation purposes. In fact since his father’s death, the company he was operating had been shut down.
The father was a herpatologist, and the company a not-for-profit organisation. His father’s job was basically to respond to the calls of police, veterinarians, the public, or whomever called needing a poisonous snake removal from their property. This brave man would risk his life, save lives and contribute to the community in ways that many of us could not. Rushing to a call out one day, he incurred a speeding offence and prior to its payment he had sadly died leaving his son and widow to close the not-for-profit company and find some way to move on.
In NSW when a vehicle is owned by a company rather than an individual, the company must inform the Road Transport Authority of the driver at the time of the offence so that demerit points may be applied to the drivers license. Failing to do so would incur a ‘failing to nominate fee’ in excess of $1,000 and a maximum penalty of $11,000.
Considering the window and the son were dealing with a death in the family, I am not at all surprised they had failed to advise the government of the driver at the time of the offence. Nonetheless the lawyer representing the RTA was requesting the judge to enforce the $1,000 penalty.
Considering this man was a pillar of support to the community, potential saviour of life and more importantly had since passed away, surely the magistrate would see common sense and waive the fine. Whilst the magistrate did acknowledge the unique circumstances, I was shocked to hear the family still had to pay a fine and in addition, court costs AND the RTA lawyer was seeking also legal fees!
It seems in NSW that being a productive citizen may be hazardous to your families well being, a state with little care for her people and what seems to be, a complete lack of common sense.