Just like the hypocrisy of governments bleating about endemic gambling while constantly increasing the amount of poker machines and other forms of punting and allowing more than fifty people per day to die of tobacco related illness while reaping billions of dollars from tobacco taxes, it is obvious that government road strategies are implemented not to save lives, but to extort the maximum amount of money possible from motorists in the form of fines.
Motorists are targeted because people have to drive and they are easy to prey upon, just as smokers are compelled by their addiction to buy cigarettes and pay the enormous "Sin Tax" that governments impose on those filthy narcotics. The whole system of fixed traffic cameras and current police road "enforcement" tactics is just another form of blatant taxation, nothing more. In fact in June 2012, NSW Premier Barry O'Farrell said the 12.5% increase in traffic fines that he imposed was not simply revenue-raising because the money was going towards road safety programs. "It's an area of taxation that can be avoided if people stick to the speed laws," he said. Note his words - "IT'S AN AREA OF TAXATION!"
The first thing that you have to understand is how the infringements system operates and how it does so - ILLEGALLY. Yes, that is right. Most people are coerced and intimidated into paying fines by state governments illegally. So to avoid being scammed, you have to understand this very important piece of law and always keep it in the forefront of your thoughts whenever you receive a penalty notice.
Traffic fines are issued by various state agencies and they are essentially nothing but demands for money with menaces. But if they are ignored by the recipients, those state agencies escalate the matters to certain courts that are called PERIN Courts that issue fines and even enforcement orders if those fines are not paid. So what is a PERIN Fine?
Under our criminal justice system (all traffic offences are criminal matters), an accused person must be brought physically before a court of competent jurisdiction that is presided over by a magistrate with a valid Bonding Certificate and Writ of Commission. The accused person must be permitted to face his accusers, cross-examine any or all witnesses and have the right to present his defence. Only after all those conditions are met and the accused person is found guilty by that magistrate, only then can any penalty be imposed and if the penalty has not been paid within the required period, only then can an Enforcement Order be issued and the Sheriff can try and enforce it.
The very important thing to remember is that nobody can be convicted of a crime in their absence. So if you have not physically faced a proper court, not a PERIN Court and you have not been convicted by a proper magistrate of an offence, then no penalty can be imposed against you. We do not operate in a Star Chamber environment and due process of law must be adhered to in every single instance.
Knowing this, you must understand that all penalty notices issued before conviction are essentially not worth the paper on which they are printed and all convictions by a PERIN Court are not valid because due process of law has not been complied with. The ONLY way that you can be liable for any penaltry is only after conviction in a PROPER court.
A little-known aspect of court procedure is that a person acting as a prosecutor can only do so for another party if he is a real barrister or solicitor and that he is a member of the Law Institute. Most police prosecutors are not qualified lawyers and do not belong to the Law Institute, yet every day they represent other parties, such as police, therefore they are not legally able to run the cases.
So if you find yourself in court defending a speeding ticket or any other sort of infringement, the first thing you should do when the prosecutor takes the stand to present the case on behalf of police or an infringement bureau is to immediately object to the magistrate and demand that the prosecutor either prove to the court that he is a qualified barrister or solicitor and that he is a member of the Law Institute, he has no standing in that court as a prosecutor. If this happens, you should immediately demand the dismissal of the infringement. The magistrate will be forced to do this, because he cannot abrogate the law by allowing the matter to run illegally.
It is vital to understand that offences such as traffic violations are treated differently than other crimes. These are called Strict Liability Offences. For the prosecution to obtain a conviction in matters other than strict liability offences, they must prove the existence of all elements of a crime to the requisite criminal standard of proof, being beyond a reasonable doubt.
Strict liability offences are minor in nature, for example speeding. However, in strict liability offences, it is not necessary for the prosecution to prove mens rea (that the accused intended the actions) - proof of the act alone is sufficient to constitute a crime. Strict liability offences can only be successfully defended if the accused can prove that the actual act did not occur, as mens rea is irrelevant to this category of offences.
This completely flies in the face of the Westminster system of justice, because an accused has to prove that he is not guilty of a strict liability offence, whereas the principles of justice normally require the prosecution to prove every element of an offence. Under those principles of justice, a person is innocent until proven guilty and should not have to try and prove his innocence. Proving that a person is guilty of any offence, whether it be speeding or murder, must be the responsibility of the prosecution.
The strict liability offence laws need to be abolished, so that all offences, including the most minor transgressions, meet the same criteria in regard to a person's innocence until proven guilty by the prosecution and that a defendant does not have to prove his innocence, but that the prosecution has to prove him guilty beyond reasonable doubt.
In an interview in February 2016, former Victorian Road Safety Camera Commissioner Gordon Lewis defended 40 kph zones and told drivers not to trust cruise control. But he also stated the following:
What this proves beyond any doubt is that speeding offences are criminal offences, which means that the Crown has the entire burden of proof to present hard evidence to a court that the accused person was actually the driver of the vehicle that was clocked speeding. Under the Constitutional requirements for due process of law in criminal matters, the whole concept of "deeming" the owner of a car to be guilty of a criminal offence is completely beyond the law and any statute that tries to do this is illegal. It is just a matter of forcing magistrates to understand this important principle of law and make them dismiss any infringements against people if their identities cannot be established by the Crown.
Here is a Bail Notice from the Queensland Magistrates Court. The details of the defendant have been removed to protect his privacy.
Note that the offence before this court is merely a low-range speeding allegation. In fact the defendant told CARR that the notice stated that he was driving at 60 kph in a 50 kph zone, not exactly a capital crime. But he took the matter to court and it was adjourned. He was shocked to be hit with the above Bail Notice, as if he had been a drug dealer or common thief before the court.
But the important thing about this Bail Notice is that it proves beyond any shadow of doubt that a traffic offence is indeed a criminal offence that is heard in the criminal jurisdiction. So the defendant can demand that all due process of law be followed to the letter and that the entire burden of proof rests with the Crown, which is an interesting concept in itself, if the defendant demands to know who the Crown happens to be and demands that the Crown appears personally in court.
Nevertheless, the fact that traffic matters are criminal matters should - if justice is to be served - force the prosecution to prove that the accused person before the court was the actual driver, not just the owner of a vehicle who is made "responsible" and thus guilty of the offence, no more than a person who happens to own an axe can be accused of a murder committed with it if there is no evidence that he actually committed the crime.
British comedian John Lycett received a parking fine from a council when he was on tour. This council tried to extort a fine from Lycett, despite having not a shred of evidence to back up its claim that he had parked on a taxi rank. Watch this hilarious clip and see how Lycett stuck it to this council.
There is a serious side to this little comedy and that is, that this is exactly what state governments and local councils try to to to gouge money from motorists without any evidence of wrongdoing. They use traffic cameras to take photos of cars without identifying the drivers and pass pretend laws that try to put "owner onus" onto the owners of the photographed vehicles to "deem" those owners to be guilty of alleged offences, without a shred of evidence to prove it. Local council rangers take photos of cars without the owners being present and try to "deem" those owners as being offenders.
What is interesting in this particular clip is that the council flunkey called "Colin" wrote, "Dear Mr Lycett, In order to reverse the fine, you will need to provide evidence that your vehiclewas not in a taxi rank." What an utter load of garbage that is. Since when did reverse onus apply in criminal matters in Britain, where somebody had to prove themselves innocent of an offence? Everybody has the presumption of innocence and there is no obligation on any person to prove himself innocent of anything. The ENTIRE burden of proof rests with the accuser, whether it be a prosecutor, the police or the government.
It's alll bluff and bullshit. The vehicle owner has no obligation to assist the prosecution in any way, whether it be by admission or written documents such as affidavits or statutory declarations. Treat camera and parking infringements with the contempt that they deserve, because all they are doing is demanding money with menaces without proving that anybody is guilty of any offence.
The issue of a fine is an assumption of guilt and this flies in the face of literally every pillar of legal jurisprudence. Under the Australian Constitution and the Australian system of justice, every person is entitled to the presumption of innocence and cannot be penalised in any way unless convicted of an offence by a legally recognised court of law under the Constitution. It is important to note that certain courts are actually not recognised under the Constitution, therefore have no power to adjudicate on matters such as traffic infringements or indeed anything else, or impose any penalties.
Australian states have passed various Acts, such as the Victorian Infringement Act 2006 VIC that attempts to impose penalties on motorists PRIOR to conviction before a court of competent jurisdiction, thus tt can easily be shown that these Acts are illegal.
For instance, Section 3 of the Infringements Act 2006 VIC  states:
However, a very important ruling was made by Chief Justice Latham of the High Court of Australia, as follows:
This High Court ruling seems to imply that the Victorian Infringements Act 2006 is a pretend law and as Justice Latham stated, "anybody in the country is entitled to disregard it". So any infringement issued under the authority of this Act can be disregarded and no penalty for doing so can be imposed. The High Court is the highest branch of the Australian legal system and its rulings apply nationally, so it can be assumed that this particular ruling would also apply to any similar infringements acts in any state.
As stated, a fine is an infringement penalty and an infringement penalty is a demand for payment contained on an infringement notice in relation to an infringement offence. It is not difficult to interpret this as saying that an infringement notice is a fine. Among other things, the evidence of this comes from none other than the highest legal officer in Victoria at the time.
When the Victorian State Attorney-General, Robert Clark, was asked if an infringement notice sent by Civic Compliance Victoria was a fine, he responded by stating, "An infringement notice generated and posted by Civic Compliance Victoria (CCV) is a fine". So, if the Attorney-General, a Minister of the Crown and a learned lawyer, stated that an infringement notice (sent by CCV) was a fine, that is a considered legal opinion that really cannot be argued.
That simply means that a person can only be fined after a valid court conviction and it must be as court of competent jurisdiction. Note that the Infringements Court is not a constitutionally recognised court. Therefore it is obvious that the entire infringement system as it operates in all states is actually illegal.
So if you are sent a traffic infringement notice, make a copy for yourself and send it back to the infringement bureau that issued it. Do not sign any affidavit that arrived with it. Ask the following questions and demand that they be answered in writing:
The first question should provide an admission - a confession - that the infringement notice is a fine, in addition to the admission provided by the Victorian Attorney-General. Questions 2 and 3 should provide evidence of who you are actually dealing with, as Civic Compliance Victoria and other infringement bureaus may not actually exist as real entities and may only be trademarks.
When you get a reply, send back a letter (this is the paper trail you need for further legal proceedings) stating that due process of law must be followed, as per the Australian Constitution requirement for a fair trial.. State that this alleged fine is illegal and void and that you have not yet been convicted of any offence, therefore no fine is payable.
Furthermore, remind the infringement bureau that infringement courts are not recognised under the Australian Constitution, therefore if the fine is to be pursued, the matter has to be brought before a court that is duly recognised under Chapter 3 of the Constitution.
Some state governments have set up special courts to perpetuate their speed and red light camera scams and other ways to fleece people. A good example is the Victorian Infringement Court, which does not issue a summons and the people who pass judgment are not required to have completed a law degree and do not swear an oath to uphold the law. Such courts are known as PERIN Courts and operate illegally, according to much higher laws than the state laws that establish these PERIN Courts. These men and women of the PERIN Courts, known as Infringement Registrars, make judgment against defendants with no parties present and do not observe the rules of evidence that higher courts are required to observe.
These Infringements Registrars in the Infringement Court Victoria presume the guilt of defendants without examining any evidence in breach of their rights to be tried in their presence and to defend themselves in person or through legal assistance of their own choosing. In other words, these Infringements Registrars deny defendants the Right to properly defend themselves in accordance to their constitutional and legal rights.
People who understand their legal rights can force courts and the legal system to uphold them and can even force magistrates to abandon their courts when challenged to produce evidence of their authority to preside over them, as this important example shows. The following video clip was made with a mobile phone and that is why the format is vertical.
In this particular case, the defendant demanded that the magistrate prove that she had the authority to preside over the court by producing her Writ of Commission and her Bonding Certificate. Obviously she got caught, literally with her pants down and could not prove that she had such authority, so she fled and abandoned her own court. Once that happened, the defendant became the highest authority in the court and instantly dismissed the charge against him. Here is a transcript of the relevant portion of the event.
This particular incident and a similar event in a West Australian court prove that some magistrates do not even have the proper authority to preside over courts or make judgements and rulings. This is why anybody who goes to court to defend any matter should ascertain whether the court itself has proper jurisdiction and that the presiding magistrate or judge is really a magistrate that is holding a Writ of Commission and a Bonding Agreement.
This is very important, because certain courts, such as the Victorian Infringement Court are not properly constituted courts and the "magistrates" are not magistrates at all. Therefore they really do not even have any jurisdiction, but governments often act quite illegally and unconstitutionally until they are taken to task, such as in that Noosa court fiasco.
Motorists are constantly bombarded by politicians and police with the notion that speed kills. That is utter nonsense. Speed itself does not kill. Bad driving, unsafe cars, bad roads, fatigue, lack of concentration, distractions and many other factors cause deaths on the roads. Driving at a speed commensurate with the quality of a road in modern cars is as safe as any other pastime. However, there is a very good reason why the "Speed Kills" propaganda is inflicted upon the people.
The reason is that if the people swallow the nonsense about "Speed Kills", then the speed limits can be set at artificially low limits in order to annoy motorists, who see roads that they can safely drive at 150 kph reduced to 100 kph and they naturally tend to drive at the faster speed, even unconsciously. Thus they become perfect targets for speed cameras and cops hiding in bushes with speed guns to raise revenue for unscrupulous governments.
This very well-known short Canadian documentary called "Speed Kills Your Pocketbook" proves beyond a shadow of doubt that politicians around the world have discovered how to use stupidly low speed limits on excellent roads in order to entice and then entrap motorists to rip money from them in penalties. It is an utter disgrace that the people whom we elect to look after our interests act as highway robbers because they have discovered that motorists are easy targets to be fleeced.
Instead of making their presence felt throughout the roads as a deterrent to dangerous driving practices, the police act merely as government revenue-raisers and tax collectors. This is easily proven by observing and analysing their methods. For instance, whenever a well-marked police vehicle is easily seen on the road, the behaviour of motorists immediately and dramatically changes. They slow down to the speed limit and drive very safely and carefully. In other words, there is no doubt whatsoever that the greatest deterrent to unsafe driving is a visible police presence on the roads.
So what do the police do? The exact opposite! They hide behind bushes and billboards with radar and laser guns and book speeding motorists, gathering tens of millions of dollars per year in revenue from infringements. If the police really wanted to stop speeders, the mere presence of marked police cars on the roads would achieve this immediately, but of course this does not produce any revenue.
The cops in the above photos were hiding in bushes along the Geelong Road just out of Melbourne. They were doing nothing but collecting revenue by entrapment. They were not trying to stop motorists from speeding, which was actually their responsibility and their jobs. These cops qwere hoping that motorists would speed on a superb multi-lane freeway that is speed-limited to 100 kph and should really be 150 kph, so that they could be frustrated into exceeding the artificially low speed limit and thus be booked by these highway robbers.
What these cops were doing is an absolute disgrace and they should be ashamed of themselves for committing such injustices against motorists. If they merely sat in a highly marked police car on the side of the road, even without speed guns, motorists would see them and check their speed and ensure that they were driving within the speed limit. But that is not what the government or the cops want. They want to rip money from motorists and that is incredibly unfair. Every motorist who is booked by such despicable tactics should contest the fines on the basis of unconscionable behaviour by police.
And why do police persist in using unmarked cars? The obvious and only logical explanation is that this also allows them to raise revenue by booking motorists who would certainly not be speeding if the police had made their presence felt by patrolling in marked cars. In other words, what the police are doing is entrapment, not enforcement, purely for the purpose of collecting revenue.
One can often see police spokesmen in the media touting the enforcement of speed limits by using cameras, but of course this is utter nonsense. For instance, the police would not dare to claim to be enforcing the law by taking photographs of masked bandits fleeing a bank, then looking to arrest them one month later. Enforcement means preventing the continuation of an offence at the exact time that the offence is detected.
When a cop pulls you over for speeding and gives you a ticket on the spot, that is enforcement. But when a cop or a speed camera takes a photo of you speeding and allows you to continue this behaviour for a month until you get the infringement notice in the mail, that is not enforcement, but entrapment and revenue-raising.
Here is an example of a CARR subscriber whom I assisted with dealing with two infringements that he beat. He wasn't intimidated by the police hitting him with the infringements, so he wrote to police and demanded that they drop both tickets forthwith or he would drag them to court and wipe the floor with the prosecution. Here is the result of his courageous action in taking on the police and beating them.
After the CARR subscriber refused to cooperate with police, they sent a number of them to his house and tried to intimidate him, threatening him with arrest and other measures. He simply took CARR's advice and stared them down, telling the cops that he was not going to talk to them or give them any statements. He challenged them to arrest him, whereupon he would sue them for their back teeth if they did so. Then he told the cops to get lost and when they realised that they could not intimidate him, they left his premises. Here is the response to the letter of complaint that the CARR subscriber wrote to the police.
What is very interesting to note is that Acting Superintendent Scholtz of the Police Parramatta Local Area Command stated that no further action would be taken against the police who not only booked the CARR subscriber on grounds that ultimately failed in court, but went to his house and threatened him. Those cops should have been roundly reprimanded for their thuggish and mostly illegal conduct. However, the CARR subscriber has contemplated further action against NSW Police.
The Office of State Revenue finally wrote to the CARR subscriber and advised him that as the police had retracted the penalty notices, that there would be no further action by that authority to pursue the fines and this just shows that the little guy can beat the police, RMS and Office of State Revenue when he knows that he was booked on unsustainable grounds. However, a lot of trauma would have been avoided if he had a car black box recorder that would have provided the hard evidence to wipe those two infringements in an instant, rather than engage in a litany of correspondence with the police.
Here is another example of a CARR subscriber in Western Australia who mostly followed the CARR procedure to fight a camera infringement and forced its cancellation.
The first letter from WA Police states that "the requirement under S34 and S36 of the Road Traffic (Administration) Act 2008 that when required to identify the driver of a vehicle it is the duty of the responsible person to provide information which may lead to the identification of the driver and take reasonable measures to ensure that the driver can be identified".
That is complete and utter baloney and those laws are completely unconstitutional. An accused person, the so-called" responsible person", is actually the ACCUSED person on the infringement notice. Therefore that person has the legal right to silence and the legal right to refuse to provide anything that may tend to incriminate him. So the second that the person receives the infringement notice, he can then refuse to cooperate with police or the infringement bureau completely and cannot be penalised for upholding his legal rights.
Against the advice of CARR, the WA subscriber in fact did provide a statutory declaration to police, however he did not nominate a driver. He would have been well within his legal rights to have refused to provide this document, because as a piece of hard sworn evidence with his signature it could have come back to bite him. Luckily for him, the cops decided that they obviously had no case and no evidence, so they withdrew the infringement.
Apart from the provision of the statutory declaration, that is exactly how every person who is booked by a camera should handle the matter. Stare the cops down and challenge them to provide evidence that will stand up in court. Challenge those stupid laws that claim that a "responsible person" has to rat out the driver. Challenge the stupid "deeming" laws that claim that car owners are guilty of a traffic offence merely because they own a vehicle. Challenge the prosecution to prove every single element of its case, knowing that they have absolutely no evidence except a photo of your car.
I received an email from a CARR subscriber who was furious at receiving an infringement notice from the Victorian infringement bureau for his car being pinged by a speed camera. So with the help of another very knowledgeable subscriber, I advised this fellow as to how to go about dealing with this infringement. Essentially, I told him that despite all the implied threats that came with the infringement notice, such as the one telling him that he HAD to incriminate himself or dob somebody else in if he was not the driver, he did not have to do any of this because he had the legal right to silence and the legal right to refuse to provide anything that may incriminate him.
I also advised him that under our legal system, he had the presumption of innocence until proven guilty in a court of competent jurisdiction, so the prosecution could not "deem" him to be guilty of an offence unless they could prove that he personally committed it. Of course without any confession from him and his refusal to provide a signed affidavit, there was no case for him to answer. In any case, he sent a letter to the infringement bureau with around 35 points showing that there was no evidence against him and a number of points of law, even stating that the Infringement Court was not a court of competent jurisdiction and did not have any authority to even preside over the matter. Here is the result.
Anybody can walk into an electronics shop and purchase blue and red flashing strobe lights that look exactly like the strobe lights that police have in their unmarked cars. Anybody can purchase an electronic siren kit. Anybody can hire or buy a fake police uniform from a fancy dress shop. Anybody can buy a fake police badge on the Internet. Anybody can Photoshop a fake police ID card. Here is one example of a fake NSW Police ID card and badge that is available as a theatrical prop.
What this means is that a lunatic or a criminal can easily install flashing strobe lights and a siren in his car and pull unsuspecting motorists over. He does not even have to wear a fake uniform if he claims to be a detective or working undercover. All he has to do is to flash that fake police badge and ID to convince a gullible motorist that he is a real cop. If that person happens to be a rapist and the motorist happens to be a woman, this has the makings of a very nasty situation. There have been quite a number of such crimes reported all over the world.
Motorists should never assume that the car with the flashing lights and siren is really a police car if there are no official police markings on it. The smart thing to do when an unmarked car approaches with lights and sirens on and signals you to pull over is to completely ignore it and keep driving, of course recording it on your car black box recorder and commenting for the audio track that a car with flashing lights and siren is trying to pull you over, but there is nothing indicating that it really is a police car or that the occupant is a cop.
If this happens and it turns out that the person in that car really is a cop, you should jump out of the car with your video recorder running and tell the cop in no uncertain terms that as you had no way of knowing that he was a real cop and the car was completely unmarked, you were not going to pull over until you had sufficient reason to do so for your safety. If it is all on video and you have commented about it on a recording, an accusation of not stopping for police will not stick. Furthermore, the precedents set by various courts that state that people do not have to stop for police if they are not under arrest still stands.
It has been reported that in certain suburbs of Sydney, police have been driving around in sports cars with "P" plates and entrapping motorists. Apart from this being a real act of bastardry by the cops in their pursuit of revenue and filling their booking quotas, motorists would have every right to completely ignore those cops if they turned on their lights and sirens and wanted them to pull over. Cops are not there to entrap people, but to enforce the law and skulking around in unmarked cars is not the way to do it. Motorists need to record all such incidents and even be prepared to lay charges against police who try and goad them into breaking the law.
It was reported in February 2012 that NSW Police were going to crack down on motorists who perform acts while driving such as applying lipstick, eating food such as breakfast items and other activities that they perceive to be dangerous. Of course certain activities could be very dangerous while driving, such as reading newspapers or shaving while looking in a mirror at their faces. However, it is more than obvious that it will be very hard for police to prove that motorists were indeed performing dangerous acts, when many activities that involve taking hands off the wheel are perfectly legal.
For instance, it is perfectly legal for motorists to smoke while driving, yet many accidents have been caused by smokers dropping their lit cigarettes or hot ash in their laps and crashing while trying to stop themselves catching on fire. Taking one's hand off the steering wheel to change gears in a manual car is quite legal, in fact necessary to drive the car. Taking one's hand off the steering wheel to change the volume or stations on a car radio is perfectly legal. Taking one's hand off the steering wheel to adjust the car's air-conditioning or any other dashboard function is legal.
So what are the criteria that the police are going to use to make a certain act while driving a bookable offence that can be justified to a court of law? If a motorist can take his hand off the steering wheel to change gear or scratch his nose, will he get booked for taking his hand off the steering wheel to place candy in his mouth? If he is permitted to place candy in his mouth, then obviously he should be able to eat a banana or a cereal bar while driving, because the act is exactly the same.
It is currently illegal to operate a mobile phone while driving unless it is via a hands-free device and it is mounted in a commercially manufactured cradle. It should be noted that in some jurisdictions, such as in Victoria, it is illegal for probationary or learner drivers to use a mobile phone while driving under any circumstances, even if it is mounted in an approved cradle. Such drivers are prohibited from even using their cradle-mounted mobile phones for GPS, which is ludicrously stupid, because these same motorists are quite legally entitled to operate a standalone touchscreen GPS receiver.
We can only wonder in complete amazement about the sort of cretins who draft such idiotic laws that prohibit certain drivers from using cradle-mounted touchscreen smartphones as their GPS receivers, while allowing those same drivers to operate standalone touchscreen GPS receivers. The actions and perceived distractions are exactly the same in both instances. But of course there is no limit to the complete lack of logic and intelligence when it comes to the fools who draft such stupid regulations.
Notwithstanding such restrictions on probationary and learner drivers, many modern cars have Bluetooth integration that allows a motorist to make and receive calls via the touchscreen on the dashboard, which also controls various other features, such as the radio and the satellite navigation system. So what is the difference between a motorist poking away at the touchscreen of his car and the touchscreen of his mobile phone? The act is exactly the same, inasmuch as the motorist takes his hand off the steering wheel and operates the touchscreen in both cases.
If a motorist was booked for eating a cereal bar while driving, he could haul the booking officer into the witness box in court and demand to see how many people the cop booked in the past year for smoking, considering that eating a cereal bar and smoking are literally the same hand actions and obviously can cause the same distraction. Obviously the cop would not have booked any people for smoking, so a very strong case for dismissal could be made to the court on the grounds that the booking was grossly discriminatory and devoid of any logic or sense.
This blitz by NSW Police against people who have the temerity to eat doughnuts or other food while driving is very obviously another revenue-raising scheme to fill the coffers of the NSW Government. Motorists can drive in perfect safety, whether they are manually changing gears, eating a piece of chewing gum or changing stations on their car radios. Anybody who is booked for doing such acts should always fight the booking in court.
In April 2014, Victoria Police and NSW Police started using futuristic new traffic cameras to nab drivers who text, talk or tweet on mobile phones. The cameras can also capture people not wearing seatbelts, or those applying make-up or eating while driving. Camera operators can zoom in and snap offending drivers from 700 metres away. In 2014, mobile phone users caught by the hi-tech traffic cameras will be hit with a $433 fine and get four demerit points.
Assistant Commissioner Robert Hill said that the new cameras to tackle driver distraction were a welcome addition to the arsenal of other detection devices that will be used. He stated, "If someone is clearly distracted by taking their eyes off the road and looking at their mobile phone on their lap, whether it be texting or whatever, they could still be infringed for offences such as using a hand-held mobile phone while driving, careless driving or failing to have proper control of a vehicle."
It is clear that the Victorian government is really scrabbling to rake in revenue wherever possible and as usual, motorists are the most convenient cash cows. The interesting question is whether the cops will actually pull over motorists at the time of the alleged infringement and book them, or will the cops just take happy snaps and then allow offending motorists to proceed to offend for another month until they receive the infringement notices. This is the whole issue with speed cameras, that they do not stop anybody speeding, but merely take photos and allow speeders to continue and possibly go on to kill people.
However, motorists can completely avoid being booked for using a hand-held phone, simply by placing it into a phone cradle and using an inxpensive Bluetooth hands-free device. As for the charges of careless driving or failing to have proper control of a vehicle, this is completely subjective and open to interpretation. If police book motorists for this, they have to prove beyond reasonable doubt that those motorists were indeed careless or did not have control of their vehicles. Short of an accident caused by such a motorist, this is something that the police would find very hard to prove. As for being charged for careless driving by not having both hands on the wheel, a motorist can merely demand that every motorist who has an arm amputated should immediately lose his licence permanently. Would the cops dare do this? Of course not.
Motorists have to fight back against this insane revenue-raising entrapment. The best way is to have hard evidence in the form of a a time and date-stamped video recording. A dual lens car black box recorder that records the driver's activity at the time will show that he was not using or holding a mobile phone. If state governments are going to use police for such blatant and unfair revenue-raising, then we all have the right to correct this injustice by any legal means, even if it means entrapping police into booking motorists on grounds that can be beaten and then demolish those infringements in court and look at the prospect of suing the government and police for damages.
One has to wonder if the lawmakers of the nation have nothing else to do, but to dream up preposterous penalties. Here are some examples of why every politician and lawmaker should be tested for sanity before being allowed to impose any law.
Radar detectors are banned in most states of Australia, but for all the wrong reasons. Many international studies have shown that motorists using radar detectors have far less accidents than those who do not have these devices. An analysis in the US state of Virginia by a group called Stop The Virginia Radar Detector Ban that is fighting to overturn the ban on radar detectors, makes the following very valid points that have been modified slightly to correlate with Australian circumstances:
After examining the many studies around the world about radar detectors, the only conclusion that a person could draw is that they are banned only because they are devices that reduce revenue from infringement notices, not reduce the road fatality rate. It is obvious that if motorists were warned of a police presence using speed guns, those motorists would slow down and drive carefully, just as if they were in the presence of marked police cars on the road. But of course this would not have the desired effect of maintaining the cash cow of speeding fines, so the police still act as government revenue-raisers by hiding behind billboards and trees with radar or laser speed guns and driving in unmarked cars instead of making their presence felt.
The NSW Motorists Handbook, that publication that all student drivers use to learn the road rules to obtain their driver's licences states, "When you overtake another vehicle, you may briefly flash high beam immediately before starting the overtaking manoeuvre." So obviously it is not an offence to flash headlights at a car in front, even though he may be dazzled by them via his rear vision mirror. The only other statements regarding bright lights is the admonition that motorists should dip their high beams within 200 metres of oncoming vehicles or driving less than 200 metres behind vehicles. The other statement is, "Do not use or allow any light fitted to your vehicle to dazzle another road user."
This last admonition is the one that police use to book motorists for flashing their headlights at oncoming motorists to warn them of police traps. The reason given by police is that flashing high beams may dazzle oncoming motorists, creating a hazard. This is a complete load of baloney, because during the day, people can tolerate much higher levels of light intensity because their irises are closed more than at night. So momentarily flashing high beams would have literally no effect on drivers, but the offence was obviously created to stop drivers being warned of speed traps, so that the revenue stream from speeding tickets would not be jeopardised.
So how do police prove that a light fitted to a motorist's car dazzled another road user? How many police, who have booked a motorist for flashing his high beams, have produced a witness in court to testify that he was dazzled by that motorist's lights? This has virtually never happened. What occurs is that a cop will book a motorist for flashing his high beams and literally never produce anybody affected by this, thus a smart motorist will demand that the prosecution produce a complainant who was actually affected by the high beams or he will demand that the magistrate dismiss the alleged offence. There is no crime if there is no victim.
How on earth can the government justify making it illegal for motorists to inform other drivers to slow down to the speed limit? This idiotic law about flashing headlights merely proves for once and for all that police speed traps are indeed revenue-raisers and have no intention of trying to reduce the road toll by deterring speeding drivers. For instance, if a motorist flashed his lights at a speeding driver and he slowed down to the speed limit, that motorist would achieve a lot more for road safety than a bunch of cops hiding in the bushes with radar guns.
Some time ago a motorist was booked for flashing his headlights to warn oncoming motorists of a speed trap. He was booked and decided to fight the infringement in court.
When the matter went to court, the motorist asked the policeman what he thought the reason was for the existence of his radar trap. The policeman replied, "To slow traffic down and to make roads safer."
The motorist then asked the policeman, "What would have been the effect of my flashing lights at oncoming traffic? The policeman responded, "They would slow down." The case was dismissed.
As for the notion that flashing lights constitutes a hazard and a distraction to motorists, this can equally apply to police cars, ambulances and fire trucks that are equipped with high-intensity strobe lights and other distracting devices such as electronic message boards. Police often flash their high beams at oncoming motorists to warn them of dangers and this activity has never been considered hazardous. Therefore on the same grounds, motorists who flash their lights at other motorists to warn them of the hazard of police speed traps have credible grounds for defending themselves against being booked for this.
Motorists who are fined for this alleged activity should go to court and demand that the police produce the alleged victims of this headlight flashing, so that they can be cross-examined as to whether they even affected by this. The chances are that these witnesses will be grateful for being warned of a police trap, rather than testify adversely against the motorist who probably saved them from being booked.
Police using radar and laser speed guns are often observed in 40 kph school zones, invariably positioned at the departure end of such zones. Logic dictates that this method of so-called "speed zone enforcement" is another blatant form of revenue-raising that actually risks the lives of schoolchildren. If the police wanted to deter motorists from speeding though school zones, they would place police cars BEFORE the entry points to those zones and illuminate their roof signs to indicate that the zones were active and warn motorists to slow down. Such highly visible indicators on police cars BEFORE the zones would virtually guarantee that every motorist would slow down to the 40 kph speed limit, however it would also mean that none of them would be booked and thus the state would not receive the revenue from such bookings.
So police place themselves at the departure ends of school zones and book hapless motorists who do not notice the often obscure school zone signs or fail to note the time when these zones are active. This has become a massive cash cow for the state government, however it does not protect the very people who are most at risk, the schoolchildren. Imagine the scenario if a motorist sped through a school zone and struck and killed a schoolchild, when there was a policeman at the far end of the zone with a speed gun waiting to trap and book him? It would be far too late for the dead child and the alleged "speed zone enforcement" that the police claim they are enforcing with such tactics will have done nothing whatsoever to save that child. If that police car had been placed before the zone, with illuminated warnings, then that child would have most certainly remained alive.
It is only a matter of time before such a terrible event happens and the police and the state will not be able to wriggle out of the public outrage or to justify these blatant revenue-raising tactics anymore. Unfortunately it will mean that an innocent child will have to die to make the point.
If state governments really wanted to make school zones safe for children at the allocated times, then every school zone sign would be fitted with bright flashing lights that would indicate the hours of operation, thus alerting motorists to slow to 40 kph. However this has two drawbacks for governments, firstly the cost of installing flashing lights on all school zone signs. But what seems to be the most important reason that governments have been so slow to do this is that massive amounts of revenue would be lost if motorists were warned to slow down in those zones and thus not be booked for speeding.
It is blatantly obvious that although state governments constantly issue propaganda about how much they care for the safety of schoolchildren, their tardiness in installing warning lights at those school zones shows that the revenue raised from booking motorists in them is far more important than saving lives.
One morning at around 9:00am, I was driving along Blaxland Road in Epping, when I observed a policeman with a radar speed gun at the departure end of a 40 kph school zone. He was booking motorists who had been exceeding the speed limit through the zone. I thought to myself that this was preposterous and dangerous, as instead of trying to prevent motorists from speeding in that zone in the first place, this policeman preferred to allow them to transgress and risk the lives of schoolchildren so that he could book them.
I was infuriated by this blatant disregard for the safety of the children by this policeman, but I was not in a position to stop and have some words with him on the spot, so when I came home later that day, I immediately sent a letter to the local area commander, complaining of the idiotic and risky methods used by this policeman to book motorists while blatantly refusing to act to reduce the danger to schoolchildren.
The local area commander replied with a pile of the most flimsy excuses that I had ever heard, trying to defend the technique that I observed one of his officers was using to book motorists. He claimed that this technique was "enforcement" of the speed laws and that it saved lives. When I pointed out to him that this policeman literally allowed motorists to speed through that school zone and endanger children, merely so he could book them, the commander had no answer. When I pointed out that if that same policeman and his marked vehicle were stationed at the approach end of the school zone, motorists would slow down to the speed limit and reduce the risk for children in that zone, the commander had no answer again.
It was obvious to me by the response from this local area commander that he had been instructed to fob off any complaints about this disgusting form of blatant revenue-raising at the risk of killing or injuring schoolchildren. It just goes to show the utter rapaciousness of the State Government's chase for the dollar, when police are instructed to act as tax collectors by using methods that put money above the lives of children.
Not only that, positive proof periodically emerges that shows that police are given booking quotas to fulfil. In other words, they must actively book a certain amount of people per month, whether they need to be booked or not. Of course this leads to situations where, if the quota happens to be low at one particular time, police will issue infringements for the most trivial or even unsubstantiated charges, knowing that most motorists are either ignorant of the law or their rights and do not have the resources or knowledge to fight such travesties and will just pay the fines and write them off as bad experiences.
Motorists should always ensure that they stand up for their rights and not be bullied into accepting unjust infringement notices. It is most important for motorists to know that they are not required to volunteer information to police if they are pulled over, apart from producing their driver licences and stating their name and address. Anything said to police can be used as evidence, therefore motorists should always resist temptation and apart from stating their name and address, refuse to say anything whatsoever. Even if motorists know that they were speeding or committing some other offence, quite often infringement notices will have errors on them that will invalidate them completely, thus saving motorists money and demerit points.
One of the best ways of proving innocence is to have a car black box recorder that logs an entire incident with GPS position and speed, video and audio recording and other data. A motorist producing such a record in court can easily get an infringement notice dismissed, especially if it shows that the policeman deliberately booked the motorist on a bogus infringement in order to fill his booking quota.
This is not to say that motorists should try everything to evade being penalised for actually committing offences, but in many cases, motorists have been booked unjustly and in such cases, should use every legal means at their disposal to fight the bookings and get them withdrawn or dismissed in court. Of course, many of those offences should not be on the statutes in the first place, so motorists have an obligation to themselves to fight such injustice.
I had a nasty experience some years ago that demonstrates a blatantly unfair and totally unjustified booking. I was driving east on Victoria Road in the Sydney suburb of Gladesville and made a U-turn at a break in the median strip. There was no sign prohibiting this, or double lines, therefore what I did was perfectly legal.
Five minutes later, about two kilometres from where I made this U-turn, I was pulled over by a police car and a police sergeant jumped out and started to berate me. He stated that I had committed an illegal U-turn on Victoria Road and that I was going to be booked for that. He claimed that I had impeded traffic by slowing down to make that U-turn. He started asking me questions, which I refused to answer. I gave him my name and address and produced my licence and the only thing I stated to him was that I was going to contest the infringement. The policeman wrote out the ticket, handed it to me and left, after making some snide remarks about me not having any chance of beating this alleged offence.
I immediately drove home, collected my camera and went to the place where I had made this U-turn and took photographs in every direction, clearly showing that making U-turns was quite legal in that spot. I then wrote a letter to the Commissioner of Police, stating that:
I also complained bitterly about this sergeant being belligerent and that he tried unsuccessfully to bully me into admitting that I had committed an offence. I demanded that the Police Commissioner reprimand this sergeant and I also demanded that that the infringement be immediately withdrawn or I would take the matter to court, beat it on at least three valid legal grounds and then I would launch civil proceedings against this sergeant for harassment and abuse of his power, as well as sue the NSW Police Force for damages in general.
A letter arrived within a few days from the Commissioner, withdrawing the infringement and apologising profusely for the entire incident, also stating that the sergeant had been reprimanded. I was pleased that justice was seen to be done and that one very authoritarian police officer was reminded that he was a servant of the people, not their master.
This incident demonstrates that police occasionally want to take the law into their own hands, however in such cases, motorists should always stand up for themselves. They should ensure that they don't give ammunition to police by admitting anything, but just assess the situation, take notes, photographs, video recordings, data from car black box recorders and any other evidence where possible and see if the bookings were deserved. If they were not justified, motorists should fight tooth and nail to have them quashed.
With inexpensive mobile phones with built-in cameras being readily available, all motorists should have them and take plenty of time and date-stamped photos or videos whenever they are pulled over and booked. No amount of verbal argument in court is better than one clear photo or video of the encounter. The data from car black box recorders that show that motorists did not commit the offence for which they were booked should invariably get the bookings dismissed.
Police often get it wrong on many occasions and motorists need to gather as much hard evidence as possible to prove that they were wrongly booked. Do not be intimidated by police trying to stop you taking photographs or making recordings and notes, as you are legally entitled to do this.
Even better is to always have a car black box recorder operating, so that hard evidence of unjustified booking can be presented to a court and destroy the prosecution case. These devices are quite cheap, a lot cheaper than a speeding ticket and are a motorist's unimpeachable witness, because without a credible witness, the word of a booked motorist is seldom enough to beat an unjustified infringement.
When motorists are wrongly booked, one of the first things they should do in court is challenge the notion that police are telling the truth. In many cases, there is the perception that the motorist is in court because he has something to lose, such as his licence, but the policeman who booked him is squeaky clean and would never do the wrong thing and book him merely to fill his booking quota, which all cops deny having, but does exist.
But the truth is that police have an appalling record of criminality. For instance a whopping 1 in 40 police in NSW have criminal records, some having committed very serious offences. In the period January to April 2014, at least 20 NSW Police officers were charged with criminal offences, with accusations ranging from creating false documents to importing pepper spray and sexual assault.
One senior constable was charged with five counts of sexual assault and four of common assault after a series of domestic-related incidents in February 2014. Another officer was before the courts charged with attacking a woman during an argument on the way home from a New Year's Eve party. He was charged with causing grievous bodily harm with intent. In April 2014, a male senior constable was charged with aggravated sexual intercourse with a 10-year-old girl and assault occasioning actual bodily harm.
Among the convicted police, there were 14 inspectors, five senior sergeants, 80 sergeants, 236 senior constables, 69 constables, 20 probationary constables and 13 student police.From July 2012 to June 2014, NSW Police Commissioner Andrew Scipione dismissed four officers under section 181D of the Police Act, which can be brought into effect if the commissioner loses confidence in the police officer's suitability to serve.
This appalling record of criminality among police should be used to confront any cop giving testimony against a motorist. As soon as the cop finishes his testimony, the motorist's first question should be, "Have you ever been charged with a criminal offence?" If the magistrate intervenes and asks why such a question is being asked, the motorist should produce those devastating statistics about police crime and state, "Your Worship, this man is testifying against me and his testimony is false. I am merely pointing out that people in his profession have a shocking record of criminality and there is no reason why this policeman's testimony should be believed over mine."
Cops are not the squeaky clean public servants that they try and portray. There are not many professions where 1 in 40 people have been convicted of crimes. Therefore whenever a motorist is facing police as adversaries, he should always point out to magistrates and judges that cops are probably the worst sector of the community that should be believed and the motorist should produce the hard statistics of this and demand that the cop's testimony be treated with great suspicion.
The presumption of innocence has been a long-held foundation of Australian law. It is a simple principle that states that a person is presumed to be innocent of an offence until proven guilty. This has been the bastion on which every criminal court case has been prosecuted.
However, this very important foundation of law has been completely overturned by the way that motorists are being prosecuted for offences. If a motorist is booked for speeding, he is presumed guilty of the offence and he is fined. If he decides to fight the fine, he has to go to court and try and prove his case against the police or a speed camera. For the average motorist, this is nearly impossible, unless there is an unimpeachable witness available to back up the motorist's claim of unjustified booking.
State governments have conspired to make it extremely difficult for motorists to fight speeding fines by declaring that speed cameras and speed guns are scientific instruments and their accuracy cannot be challenged. In fact, hard evidence shows that most speed cameras are notoriously inaccurate and unreliable, with around 14% in NSW being declared faulty in some way at any given time. The same goes for hand-held or roadside radar and laser speed cameras that rely on being calibrated accurately by the operator and in many cases they are not.
So the hapless motorist trying to fight an unjustified booking has to not only contend with being automatically declared guilty, but trying to prove that a notoriously inaccurate or faulty speed camera was wrong, when legislation has declared this piece of rubbish to be a scientific instrument whose readings are the gospel truth. The same goes for a booking made by a cop with a speed gun who has miscalibrated it, but whose word is almost invariably taken over that of the motorist.
In other words, state governments have deliberately passed legislation to make it almost impossible for motorists to fight unjustified bookings and their enforcement arms such as police are in on the scam as paid revenue-raisers. But the worst aspect is the complete denial of justice by the abrogation of the most important principle of law, that of the presumption of innocence.
In fact, in 2010 South Australian independent MP Bob Such, who was booked for allegedly driving at 69 kph in a 60 kph zone lost his appeal against the infringement in the South Australian Supreme Court. He had challenged the accuracy and operation of the laser speed gun that police used to book him. This case revealed the fact that government regulations did not require police to prove the accuracy of the laser speed gun or even show that it met Australian standards. In fact, the police refused to allow the laser gun to be independently tested.
Bob Such complained, "What we've got here under this Gaddafi Road Traffic Act is a system that takes away your presumption of innocence and puts the onus of proof onto the citizen against the resources of the police because the police inspector says it the reading was accurate." And this is how the system is rigged, because the onus of proof in such matters is on the prosecution, yet in literally every case, the prosecution's testimony is mostly unproven, obtained by equipment that is known to be inaccurate and flawed, yet is accepted virtually without question by courts.
Outside the court, Bob Such stated that the system was absolutely biased against the ordinary citizen, who had no hope in hell of proving his innocence. If the police are permitted to tender evidence taken from a device that is known to have a huge failure and inaccuracy rate and that evidence is accepted by a court, obviously this will cause gross miscarriages of justice. No citizen would be granted the privilege of tendering evidence that failed to meet all sorts of legal challenges, but the police are given this right in the case of very badly flawed radar and laser speed guns.
Such said, "It's worse than David and Goliath because the system backs the system. What we have with a police officer using a laser and in South Australia they use these cheap lasers which have no camera unlike New Zealand, unlike the United Kingdom where they can show you a photo." However, Such forgot to mention that if such a speed gun is defective, the photo it produces will also have an inaccurate speed reading printed on it, so even that does not show that the speed gun was defective.
But Bob Such was absolutely right about the state negating the important principle of the presumption of innocence. Simply put, the government cannot allow such a thing to happen, because it will completely destroy its method of raising revenue without going to a lot of very expensive trouble. If the government had to individually try and prosecute every motorist in court on any traffic offence, rather than just issuing a fine, the system would collapse.
According to the Ascendingstarseed website, a retired Victorian Police sergeant has offered the following advice to assist motorists who are booked to fight back against the unjust and biased court system. This is his story.
I completely agree with Stan. The entire infringement system is unfair and tries to remove the legal presumption of innocence from motorists by trying to fine them before they are convicted of any offence. The court system aids and abets this travesty by making it inordinately expensive and time-consuming for people to fight bookings, causing them to go to court at least twice, usually with very little prospect of beating infringements, even when they are wrong.
Motorists have to fight back using whatever weapons are available to them to beat the rapacious revenue-raising system by using technology to not get booked in the first place, but having the material in the form of video clips and other evidence to take to court. However, the idea is for every motorist to take Stan's advice anyway and snarl up the court system so badly that it becomes unworkable. This is fair enough. If the courts operate in such a way that they deny justice to motorists, then any tactic used to stop them operating is legitimate civil disobedience.
When pulled over by police, REMEMBER THIS - anything you say can be used against you as evidence in court. You are only required to give your name, produce your driver's licence and submit to a breath test if asked. That's all. The police don't have the right to even search you or your car without just cause. This is what you should do.
Speed is just a measure of velocity, nothing more. Speed has been blamed more than most other factors that cause fatal accidents, but speed itself does not kill or do anything else. What causes accidents is driving beyond the capabilities of the motorist, the car and the road, that's all. Every motorist has an obligation to drive within safe parameters, whether the speed limit is a very low 20 kph or there is no speed limit at all.
There is nothing wrong with driving quickly, provided that certain criteria are met. If the road is of a high standard, the vehicle is modern, well-handling and has excellent tyres and if the driver is competent, sober and well-trained in handling a car in emergencies such as skids, then driving at 160 kph or more on most good freeways such as the Sydney to Melbourne divided highway poses no reduction in safety at all. This is easily proven by statistics.
Germany's road toll is similar to that of Australia, but there is no speed limit whatsoever on German autobahns and in many cases the weather conditions are much worse in Europe than in Australia. Therefore speeding in itself cannot be blamed for our road toll and it is ludicrous to see unrealistic limits of 110 kph on freeways that are capable of accommodating modern safe vehicles travelling at almost double that speed. In fact in the 2000 holiday period, the only area that did not sustain any road deaths was the Northern Territory, where there was still no speed limit on open roads.
It is most apparent that a major change in policy and the application of the law to motorists needs to be implemented. Governments require money to operate, but if it is at the expense of road deaths, this is far too high a price to pay. Police must be prevented from acting as government tax collectors and must do their job of deterring errant motorists by showing a high profile on the roads in marked cars instead of skulking behind bushes or in disguised vehicles. Speed cameras should be completely abolished, as they do not deter speeders, but just act as revenue-raisers. Red light cameras have been proven to be completely ineffective and in fact contribute to accidents at intersections, so they should be removed forthwith.
Every motorist has the means to beat those revenue-raisers easily. Just use a GPS with a current traffic camera database and say goodbye to being booked by traffic cameras and of course do not accumulate those demerit points that can result in licence loss. Every motorist other than probationary and learner drivers in some jurisdictions can use a Bluetooth hands-free car kit and never get booked holding a phone to his ear while driving. Every motorist can get a car black box recorder as an unimpeachable witness to bookings and accidents. All motorists can and should always video record every police encounter for their own protection. Taking active measures is quite legal.