COVID-19 violations NSW government is urged to withdraw 29,000 fines

COVID-19 violations NSW government is urged to withdraw 29,000 fines

A New South Wales Supreme Court’s judgment has canceled more than 29,000 COVID-19 fines because it failed to provide enough detail to the recipient about the alleged infringement.

The withdrawals were forced by a New South Wales (NSW) Supreme Court case brought by the Redfern Legal Centre after being found to be invalid.

A test case run by the Redfern Legal Centre initially focused on the treatment of 3 individuals who were fined during the pandemic.

In August 2021, Rohan Pank, one of the plaintiffs, was fined for sitting in a park 1 km from his home while taking a short break from exercising.

Pank challenged the fine twice receiving wildly different reasons as to why he had committed an offense.

The government classified what he had been doing, sitting for relaxation an acceptable form of recreation not long after the fine. Pank’s fine was withdrawn and described at the time as ridiculous.

The fines issued did not adhere to the legal definition, according to the Supreme Court ruling, for a fine to be valid, an offense must be clearly stated in reference to a specific act, policy, or law that was allegedly broken.

Fines were issued to people not complying with lockdown orders or social distancing measures providing such information, the court ruled, was a minimum requirement under NSW law determining whether it should be disputed.

The NSW government has declined to withdraw another 29,017 COVID-19 fines despite the ruling attracting significant scrutiny on handling the COVID fine enforcement.

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