In the past couple of decades, Australian state governments have needed to raise more revenue to fund their various projects and also to fill their coffers in order to pork-barrel upcoming election campaigns. They have discovered that motorists make excellent targets for this gouging by claiming that their enforcement methods are all about road safety. Nothing could be further from the truth. Police hiding behind bushes with speed guns instead of being on the roads deterring stupid driving is not helping road safety. Speed and red light cameras that cannot prevent - and actually increase accidents - degrade road safety and put the lives of citizens at risk.
To make the revenue-raising scams work, state governments have passed what amount to pretend laws that violate the civil and legal rights of citizens. These governments operate on the basis that the people do not know their civil and legal rights and are too intimidated to oppose them. To this end, governments have rigged the court systems by making the cost of contesting penalties far more expensive for people than paying the penalties. So between the pretend laws that scare motorists into abrogating their rights and the rigged court systems, state governments have been fleecing motorists for a long time and this scam needs to be stopped.
Under Australia's constitutional and legal system, every person has a number of civil and legal rights that cannot be violated by any state or even commonwealth law.
These rights are fundamental and in theory, cannot be denied or violated. However all Australian state governments have passed pretend laws that have done exactly that, because these pretend laws are literally the only way that state governments can continue to perpetrate their revenue-raising scams by gouging motorists and using false pretexts of road safety to justify them.
In the famous case of Lee vs The Queen, the highest court in the land made the following ruling:
When people are being prosecuted in NSW, they are now expected to show their defence to the prosecution, which is as crazy as it sounds. For instance, if a police officer 'verbals' a person by accusing them of not wearing a seat belt or holding a mobile phone while driving and the defendant has hard evidence in the form of video from a dashcam that the officer was lying, then having to disclose this to the prosecution means that the police officer can be briefed about it and then change his testimony to avoid facing accusations of perjury if he lies about the incident under oath in the witness box.
There is a very long-standing principle of law in Australia that does not compel defendants to aid anybody to prosecute them. Revealing a defendant's defence and evidence to a prosecution allows the prosecutor to fiddle with the facts that he would use to run the prosecution and this would be grossly unfair. Despite the government passing statutes to compel defendants to reveal their hand to the prosecution, nobody should ever do this and instead, should rely on their enshrined legal rights and the High Court ruling in the Lee vs The Queen matter.
To facilitate their scams, states have imposed laws that violate the Australian Constitution and the civil and legal rights of people. They are essentially illegal laws. In the High Court of Australia, the highest court in the land, Justice John Latham stated the following in the precedent-setting Uniform Taxation Case HCA (High Court of Australia) 1942 (65 CLR 373 at 408).
Here was a High Court Justice telling every man and woman that: "A pretend law made in excess of power is not and never has been a law at all" and that it is "void ab initio". All those state laws that try to force an accused person to provide information or make admissions are pretend laws made in excess of power and cannot be sustained. This includes all those laws that purport to 'deem' the owner of a vehicle guilty of an offence without proving this in court beyond reasonable doubt. So all government threats are hollow and they should be totally opposed.
There is no such thing as 'owner onus' in criminal matters, even trivial ones such as traffic offences, therefore the onus is entirely on the prosecution to prove its case against somebody, not a company or any other entity. Even though traffic offences are Strict Liability offences and the principle of 'Mens Rea' does not have to be proven, the prosecution is still required to prove 'Actus Reus' (the body of the crime). Without being able to positively identify an offender, the prosecution has no case. If they cannot provide hard evidence to a court that a person actually committed the alleged offence, they have no case against the accused person and that accused person certainly is not obliged or compelled to assist them in any way.
So any law that tries to violate the Constitutional, civil and legal rights of people has to be a pretend law and we have the right to not only ignore it, but challenge such a law in court. In fact magistrates and judges have a legal obligation to dismiss any offences that are put before a court under such pretend laws. But of course if they are not challenged, magistrates and judges just routinely convict people under those pretend laws. Why? Because magistrates and judges are human and they are employees of the states that run these scams using those pretend laws.
Magistrates and judges always uphold themselves to be impartial and independent of any government interference or influence and they cannot be removed from their positions by being fired. However, there are ways that the states can control the judiciary by putting magistrates and judges who don't toe the line into untenable situations.
There is more than adequate proof to show that many laws passed - and enforced - by both federal and state governments are illegal and void. There is also hard evidence to show that certain laws are routinely ignored by courts, such as magistrates' courts. Here are just a few High Court precedents and rulings that show this, remembering that the High Court is the highest judicial body in the nation and its rulings are binding on all courts.
When you receive a penalty notice for an alleged traffic violation, do you think that it has any legal validity? Most people think that a speeding ticket is some sort of legal document that must be acted upon and almost invariably paid. That is not true. A penalty notice is essentially a notice demanding money with menaces and if a citizen sent such a demand for money to a person, he would possibly be facing criminal charges of attempted extortion. But this is the way the state government scam operates, by issuing these demands for money with menaces without following due legal process by operating under a pack of pretend laws.
There is only one way that due process of law operates. If the state or its servants (the police) determine that you have violated the law, they must charge you with an offence. If it is a serious offence, then they can arrest you, But if it is a summary offence, then they should have to go to court and have a summons issued and serve it on you. Once a copy of the served summons is returned to the court, the registrar will set a mention date and once you appear at the mention, the magistrate will set a hearing date.
Can you see the problem for the state if due process of law was followed in accordance with the Australian Constitution and our legal system? With the sheer number of traffic infringements generated by cops hiding in bushes and speed, red light and mobile phone cameras clicking away at motorists driving by, the court system would completely collapse within a couple of days. So to expedite the scam, state governments have streamlined the process by passing pretend laws that allow them to issue penalty notices that are designed to accuse and scare the receivers of those notices of offences without proving in any way that those offences were even committed. This also naturally has the effect of hugely accelerating the amount of revenue sucked into their coffers.
All the demands made on the typical penalty notice are not legal demands at all and carry no validity. If you receive such a penalty notice, you must understand that those demands attempt to get you to do things that no lawyer would ever advise you to do. A penalty notice might have these items on it, accompanied by a demand that you MUST make one of the following choices.
Why pay the fine if you have not been convicted of the offence? Of course if you know that you committed the alleged offence, then it is probably smart to pay the fine, rather than waste days in court fighting an unwinnable case. But if you know that you did not commit the offence and you have some way of proving it, such as GPS-logged video from a dashcam, then you should never pay the fine under any circumstances.
There is no legal compulsion for a person accused of a crime to make any admissions whatsoever - and traffic offences are criminal matters. Therefore, an accused person has the right to silence and does not have to name the driver or do anything else to aid the accuser.
Never ever do this. If you request a review of the penalty, you are admitting that you are the person who allegedly committed the offence. In camera infringements, the prosecution does not have any evidence to identify the driver, so do not assist the prosecution by literally admitting that it was actually you whom they have charged with the offence.
You should only go to court if you are 100% certain that you can win your matter. A court is evidence-based and in traffic matters, the prosecution will present hard evidence, such as a photograph of a car driving past a speed camera at a rate above the prevailing speed limit. The photo will have the alleged speed imprinted on it. Trying to contest this evidence is almost impossible, unless you can prove that the camera was defective and that is a monumental task, requiring subpoenaing the camera testing record and calling the technicians as witnesses.
It is far easier if you operate a GPS-equipped dual camera dashcam and have the hard evidence in the form of GPS speed logged time and date stamped video recordings that will prove that you were not speeding. There is no way that any magistrate would dare ignore or refuse to admit this evidence and refuse to dismiss the infringement.
Penalty notices demand that if you want to contest a penalty, you should nominate to go to court. But why should you? It's not your job to initiate court proceedings against yourself. If the infringement bureau or police wish to drag you to court, that's entirely their job.
It is interesting to see the depths to which some states are descending in order to facilitate their scams and they have no shame in trying to violate the civil and legal rights of citizens. For instance, in Western Australia, a friend who decided to fight a speed camera penalty examined the WA Police website and found this in relation to company cars.
Of course this nonsense violates a whole swag of civil and legal rights if the state tries to enforce it. It is important to note that a company cannot be prosecuted for a criminal offence and every traffic offence is in the criminal jurisdiction. Only a flesh and blood person can be prosecuted for a criminal offence, therefore only the director or owner of a company can be prosecuted under criminal law. Furthermore, as the accused person, that company director is under no obligation to provide anything that may tend to incriminate him and cannot be penalised for this refusal to abrogate his civil and legal rights.
So my friend sent my template letter to the WA Police. The template letter informed the recipient that my friend had certain civil and legal rights and therefore he would not be submitting to any demands on the penalty notice, including the demand that he name the driver. Quite amazingly, he received this email and I have absolutely no shame in reproducing it in full, except for removing my friend's details.
So here was a cop trying to head off my friend from challenging the penalty notice by demanding that he abrogate his right to silence and his right to refuse to provide information that may tend to incriminate him. Senior Constable Colosi offered to advise my friend of his choices, as well as his obligations. The truth is that those choices and obligations are a pack of garbage, because they are framed under the pretend laws that the WA government passed and they all violate my friend's civil and legal rights, therefore they can be ignored.
In fact my friend did not have to make any choice except the correct one - and that was to not permit the WA Police to bully him into making any admissions that may have tended to incriminate him. As for his obligations, he only had one - to protect himself from police trying to convict him of an offence by using pretend laws to extort some sort of confession out of him. So my friend replied to Senior Constable Colosi with the following email.
Everybody needs to understand that they have a large number of civil and legal rights under the Australian Constitution and other Acts of Parliament and these rights cannot be removed from them by any form of state legislation. Therefore any laws that do violate those rights are unsustainable and unenforceable. For instance, there can be no criminal law that makes the owner of an inanimate object responsible for a crime committed with it. This is called 'owner onus' and it does not exist under our legal system.
A person cannot be prosecuted as a murderer just because his axe was used to kill somebody unless the police can prove beyond reasonable doubt that the owner actually committed the murder. The same applies to any offence, even a trivial speeding or parking violation. Just because a person's car was photographed speeding by a camera or photographed illegally parked by a council ranger, that does not mean that the owner had committed the offence. The prosecution is required to comply with due process of law and not try to act under unsustainable pretend laws that 'deem' a vehicle's owner to be an offender without hard evidence to prove that the person actually committed that offence.
We all have to obey proper laws that are passed by parliament, providing that those laws do not violate our unalienable civil and legal rights. However, government are quite notorious in passing pretend laws that allow them to perpetrate their revenue-raising scams and we have every right to not only oppose them, but to prove in court that these laws are unsustainable and actually illegal and thus beat any alleged offences that are brought against us under those pretend laws.