- Court's Parking Mad
- By Aaron Langmaid
- Contributed by: Roger ( 1 article in 2018 )
Edward Clarke has been fighting a parking fine after he accidentally mixed up two letters when entering his registration number on a parking app.
MAN SLAMS PARKING
Car App Fines 'farce'
Man fights fine in court over wrong registration in parking
A MELBOURNE man has labelled his day in court to fight a parking fine a farce.
Lift technician Edward Clarke used a payment app to register his time in a CBD car park but was slapped with a fine when he accidentally got two letters in his numberplate around the wrong way.
The 32-year-old decided to fight the charge after a letter requesting a review was knocked back by Melbourne City Council.
But it was the experience at the Magistrate's Court that Mr Clarke said left him even more frustrated.
The court was full of other people with parking infringements, many of them similar to mine," he said.
“We lined up to speak to the council prosecutors, who tried to convince us to plead guilty.
“They offered to drop the fine if we paid the court costs. “They told me the law is black and white and I won't win."
Mr Clarke said he didn't feel comfortable pleading guilty when he had obeyed instructions on the sign.
Determined to plead not guilty Mr Clarke said he watched as numerous other people tried to do the same only to be told by the prosecutor to "plead guilty and we will drop the fine".
He said the situation was compounded when the magistrate said all court costs would also be dropped if those fighting the fine conceded guilt.
Mr Clarke said the entire process highlighted a circus of pointless proceedings that wasted everybody's time and ultimately cost ratepayers. “I don't know what the point of any of this was," he said.
"I guess if no-one ever pleads not guilty then the dodgy interpretation of the law that they're enforcing will never be challenged, so they can continue booking people.”
He did plead guilty to escape a fine, but said: “Is it in the public interest for innocent people willing to fight, to be put in a position that pleading guilty is the most reasonable decision they can make?"
Traffic lawyer Sean Hardy said motorists needed to carefully navigate online parking apps.
“There's no point blindly clicking OK," he said. "You need to make sure you've identified the correct vehicle."
He said it was common practice for defendants to plead guilty to help councils keep relatively trivial matters becoming drawn out court proceedings.
Herald Sun online and 4 March 2018 edition (page 20 )