Most motorists do not realise that traffic offences are criminal matters and ultimately they can go to jail for them. This should require that the prosecution must carry the full burden of proof against motorists and this is not easy, especially in camera offences where the identity of the driver has not been established. Here is an excerpt from the Victorian Government website.
So that absolutely nails the question of whether traffic offences are criminal offences, simply because a magistrate can jail a person for not paying a traffic fine. That means that all the legal rights granted to an accused person should be observed and no accused persons can be penalised for upholding their legal rights, such as refusing to cooperate with authorities. Unfortunately, state governments have grossly violated these legal and civil rights and all people defending traffic offences should demand the presumption of innocence and that the Crown actually prove that they were the actual offenders.
In South Australia, a friend reported that if motorists decide to challenge traffic offences, they are recorded as having criminal matters pending against them. That again proves that accused persons have all the legal rights available to them to force the prosecution to prove its case beyond reasonable doubt, including proving the identity of the driver. However, the vehicle owners are under no legal or other obligation to admit to being the drivers or nominating anybody else as the drivers, or even providing any form of documentation such as statutory declarations or affidavits.
In NSW, the standard traffic penalty notice issued by the State Debt Recovery Office (SDRO) states the following:
That proves beyond a shadow of doubt that traffic infringements are breaches of criminal law and therefore the entire burden of proof should rest with the Crown and the obligation is there for the Crown to prove BEYOND REASONABLE DOUBT that a person actually committed the offence. They should not be permitted to make a person 'responsible' for an offence merely because they have a photo of that person's vehicle number plate, but this is how state governments have perverted the law.
Furthermore, the Australian Law Reform Commission (ALRC) has the following in a document called Burden Of Proof.
There it is, straight from the ALRC - THE PROSECUTION BEARS THE BURDEN OF PROOF. So how the hell can somebody whose car was pinged by a speed camera be prosecuted and even found guilty of the offence when the prosecution cannot offer a shred of evidence to prove that the person was driving the car at the time? It is beyond the bounds of incredulity that state governments have been getting away with prosecuting motorists of speed camera offences without being able to offer any evidence against them, apart from the fact that they owned the vehicles that were pinged. This is a completely corruption of Australian criminal law and has to be resisted at every opportunity.
Because speed and red light cameras do not provide any evidence as to who was driving a vehicle that was photographed by those cameras, all Australian states have passed ridiculously unfair laws to enable them to run their camera infringements rackets by fooling people into believing that they have to incriminate themselves or pay fines without being convicted of any offence. These are unsustainable pretend laws that attempt to coerce people into paying fines by using penalty notices and laws that blatantly and illegally violate the Constitutional rights of people, as well as violate their long-standing rights to the presumption of innocence, the right to silence and the right to refuse to incriminate themselves.
Vehicle owners should be under no obligation to notify the infringement bureau that they wish to contest the infringement in court. It should be the task of the infringement bureau, to choose to try and prosecute a vehicle owner without any evidence as to the driver's identity, or not. Any vehicle owner who receives a camera infringement notice should never ever cooperate with the infringement bureau in any way or provide anything whatsoever.
Those crucial items alone should destroy any attempts for state laws to breach Constitutional and other legal rights of an accused person. So all those threats of penalties, demerit points and licence suspension are nothing more than acts of intimidation and if any of them are carried out prior to the conviction in court of the accused person, they are highly illegal. Punishing a person prior to conviction is clearly violating that person's presumption of innocence.
Anybody who refuses to comply with a penalty notice and is threatened with these actions should immediately send a strong letter to the issuer of the penalty notice and tell them in no uncertain terms that if they are penalised in any way, shape or form PRIOR to conviction for the alleged offence by a court of competent jurisdiction, the issuer will be guilty of committing serious offences against the Australian Constitution and leave themselves open for legal action against them.
Most motorists who receive an infringement notice will opt to just pay the fine, even when they know that they have not committed an offence, because they understand that the legal system imposed by the states is geared to make it extremely difficult to fight these bookings, even if they are unjustified. The entire infringement system is a monstrous scam and the way that it is operated would be a criminal offence if any person or company did the same.
What the state governments do with infringement notices is nothing more than demanding money with menaces. They send those tickets out to motorists and demand that they either pay up or else. The tickets are accompanied by dire threats of fines and even harsher penalties if the recipients do not pay up at the point of the legal gun. But the truth is that these infringement notices can be dealt with quite easily and state governments really don't like people who not only see through their attempts at extortion, but use the law to beat them.
Using the Revenue NSW ( formerly the Office of State Revenue State Debt Recovery Office - SDRO) as the example here quickly reveals the extent of the scam. The first thing that one sees on the website is the banner: "Act now to avoid extra costs. It is an offence to provide false information." It may be an offence to provide false information, but the trick is to not provide any information at all. No person is obliged to provide anything that may tend to incriminate them, so if you don't provide any information at all, then they can't prosecute you for providing false information.
The website states that: "If you receive a penalty notice you must choose from the following options - Pay the fine or Name the driver or Request a review or Go to court." Again, this is utter baloney. Let's look closer at these so-called options.
As traffic offences are criminal offences, drivers can be imprisoned for failing to pay fines that are imposed. Unfortunately, Australia states have passed laws that completely violate the long-established legal and civil rights of citizens, such as the presumption of innocence, the right to silence, the right to refuse to provide anything that may tend to incriminate them and even now, the federal government and some states have passed laws that coerce citizens into disclosing their mobile phone passcodes and passwords to their computers and encrypted files.
At the risk of being charged with incitement to commit a crime, I advise all citizens to simply refuse to ever give anybody access to their mobile phones, computers and encrypted files. Although Australia is very quickly turning into a police state that could be compared to the old communist East Germany and the police are acting more like Stasi thugs, we still must have the right to privacy, being law-abiding citizens.
Therefore you should always guard your privacy and never allow anybody to gain access to your mobile phone or computer. There is a good reason for this. If for instance the police wanted to stitch you up and you allowed them access to your mobile phone, nothing would stop them from downloading some child pornography or terrorist material onto your phone and then accuse you of being a paedophile or a terrorist and charging you. But if they cannot get at your devices, then they cannot plant incriminating material on them. And police have a notorious reputation of planting false evidence against people.
But the important thing to understand is that many of our legal and civil rights have been violated by corrupt federal and state laws, so with traffic offences, citizens cannot rely on those rights protecting them. Therefore there is only one real way of beating wrongful or false accusations of traffic infringements and that is to have hard evidence to refute it. But even eyewitnesses can be questioned and their testimonies dismissed for one reason or another, however the one thing that no magistrate or judge can dismiss is time and date stamped video, along with GPS-logged speed from a good car black box recorder.
Nevertheless, even though our legal and civil rights have been violated, I suggest that it is incumbent on us to make it as difficult as possible for the operators of the corrupt traffic infringements scam to stitch us up. So I recommend the following strategies.
If you are pulled over by police for speeding, the cop will obviously ascertain your identity, therefore your only way to beat the ticket is to prove that it was issued by a defective speed measuring device or that the cop did not operate the device properly or a number of other factors. However, if you are booked by a speed camera, then your identity cannot be ascertained by the infringement bureau and this is very important to understand.
In regard to camera infringements, on the NSW SDRO website, it states: "Images taken are considered prima facia evidence." Fair enough, but evidence of what? The only prima facie evidence from that camera is a photo of a vehicle and maybe the speed and date stamped on it. But this seems to be enough for the infringement bureau to accuse a vehicle owner of a crime without actually proving that this person committed it and that is a disgrace.
Then come the threats and warnings of dire penalties. The website states: "Penalty notices for camera-detected offences are sent to the registered owner of the vehicle. The registered owner of the vehicle is responsible for the offence unless they tell us the name and details of the person who was in charge of the vehicle at the time of the offence." This is one of the greatest legal travesties of the modern era, where a person is declared to be guilty of a criminal offence merely because he owns a vehicle that has been pinged by a camera.
As for the registered owner being obliged to inform the infringement bureau of the name and details of the person who was in charge of the vehicle at the time of the offence, this is not true. Nobody is obliged to rat out somebody else, but under the corrupt system under which we live, the owner of the vehicle will be "deemed" to be guilty of the offence, despite there not being a shred of evidence to prove it. Any person who is thus accused without evidence should scream to high heaven about their log-standing legal and civil rights being violated. In fact, as Australia is a signatory to the UN Universal Declaration of Civil Rights, that states that every person has the presumption of innocence, any person accused without evidence to be guilty of a traffic offence should demand that their right to the presumption of innocence under this binding treaty should be upheld at all times.
The website continues and states: "If another person was responsible, the registered owner should complete and return the statutory declaration (received with the penalty notice or downloaded from www.sdro.nsw.gov.au) nominating this person by the due date on the penalty reminder notice. If the vehicle is registered in a company or organisation name, an authorised representative of the company or organisation must nominate the actual driver responsible for the offence." The bottom line is that nobody is obliged to rat out another person for an offence. Nobody is obliged to provide a statutory declaration or affidavit for anything whatsoever. No person should ever cooperate in providing any material that could be used against them.
The website states: "SDRO issues an additional fine of more than $1200 for companies/organisations for a first offence and over $3000 for a second and subsequent offence. Fines of over $590 can be issued to individuals who fail to nominate the driver responsible by the due date on the penalty reminder notice. Courts may issue fines of up to $11,000." This is a disgraceful violation of our legal and civil rights and anybody in this position should demand due process of law and fairness. But of course this is all part of the infringements racket that state governments are running.
It is most important that once you receive a camera-based infringement notice, that you take steps to completely negate it and try to beat it.
WARNING - When you get the infringement notice, you will receive an offer for you to ask for a review of the infringement. This sounds tempting, especially if you have not committed a traffic offence for a long time. But BEWARE. If you apply for that review, you have to provide details and those details are a CONFESSION that you committed the offence. So if they knock back your application and you decide to take it to court, then you cannot demand that the prosecution prove that you were the driver, because you ADMITTED it on the review application. So DO NOT ask for that review, no matter how tempting it sounds, because it's a scam to get you to confess to the offence in writing and you have no hope in fighting it in court. So this is what you should do.
So this is what you should do if you are every booked by a speed or red light camera or in any circumstance where you receive an infringement notice without being identified. Fight it all the way, because unless the prosecution can identify you as the driver BEYOND REASONABLE DOUBT - they are the operative words - then they have no case, despite the stupid and unsustainable 'deeming' laws. Unfortunately, because of those unjust and corrupt 'deeming' laws, this may not have any effect on the infringement bureau, but it's always a good idea to lay a paper trail to show that you are aware of your legal and civil rights and that you will not just submit easily to those rights being violated.
A number of people who have replied to the infringement bureau using my Camera Infringement Letter have received responses from infringement bureaus stating that what was sent to them were templates. Sure, my Camera Infringement Letter could be considered to be a template, but so what? It is just as valid as a handwritten letter making the same legal points.
In fact, this 'template' letter was responsible for a number of camera offences having to be withdrawn after various infringement bureaus realised that the recipients of those infringements would not be fooled or coerced into paying penalties unless the offences against them could be proven beyond reasonable doubt with hard evidence as to the identity of the actual driver and the following of due process of law, not just sending out notices demanding money with menaces.
Unfortunately, those template letters do not work anymore, because the infringement bureaus now routinely ignore them, so the only effective strategy against a wrongful traffic offence booking is hard evidence in the form of GPS-logged time and date stamped video recordings. Such hard evidence cannot be ignored by either an infringement bureau or a magistrate or judge, so it is highly advisable for all motorists to install and use a top-class GPS-equipped dual camera dashcam and keep a rolling backup of at least two months of data from it.
If a penalty notice arrives and you have been operating a good GPS-equipped dual camera dashcam, go and review the backup data to ascertain whether you actually committed the offence or not. In many cases, infringements bureaus get it very badly wrong, making mistakes on car registration plates, taking data from defective speed cameras as being accurate and making many other mistakes. So if you see on your dashcam data that you did not commit the alleged offence or there is an error on the infringement notice, I suggest that you immediately respond with something like the following:
Any day of the week, you can go to any court and see magistrates upholding traffic infringements and then on top of the actual fines, they impose costs. However, according to a federal law, the Human Rights Commission Act 1986, this is clearly illegal, because under this Act, Australia is bound to adhere to the provisions of the United Nations International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, which upholds the legal principles of the presumption of innocence and other important legal and civil rights.
So there it is in black and white. If you are convicted of any offence, whether it be speeding, littering or any other offence, this federal act states beyond any ambiguity that any costs added to the original penalty are unlawful. If you find yourself in the position of losing a court challenge and the magistrate imposes costs against you, just produce the Human Rights and Equal Opportunities Act 1986 with Article 15 of the Covenant On Civil and Political Rights and tell the magistrate that the imposition of any costs is unlawful under a federal law that overrides all state laws.
So if you get a camera-detected infringement notice, treat it with the contempt it deserves. Don't ignore it, because it is a legal document, but follow the advice that I have given here. Understand that Australian states have passed laws that are corrupt, unjust and violate our legal and civil rights. Therefore all the previous strategies that did work to force penalty notices to be withdrawn do not work, especially in lower courts.
Of course, if you are booked for speeding and you really were exceeding the speed limit, then you have no defence and you should just suck it up and pay the penalty. But knowing the way that the corrupt infringements scam works there is only one real and effective way to beat wrongful traffic penalties and that is with hard irrefutable evidence in the form of GPS-logged time and date stamped dashcam data.
Unfortunately, because our legal and civil rights have been damaged to a disgraceful degree by laws that declare us guilty of offences without any evidence to prove this, we have to resort to proving our innocence by some means. And the only reliable and irrefutable means to do this is with hard data that no magistrate or judge can deny. So don't allow yourself to be a victim of government revenue-raising camera scams and always use every means at your disposal to gather hard evidence of your innocence. A good GPS-equipped dual camera dashcam will be your greatest saviour in any infringement defence. Of course if you are pulled over by police, your video recording of the encounter on your smartphone will be critical as to the nature of any conversation or even any illegality committed by those police.