Rod Hannifey commends our “fine” efforts

Rod received a penalty for a minor fatigue breach of 15 mins or less in his work diary. This is classified as a breach pursuant to section 254(1)(a) of the Heavy Vehicle National Law (NSW). This offence carries a maximum penalty of $4540, with the penalty notice amount being 10% of that maximum penalty.

Rod did have the required break, which was recorded, but he omitted to record it in his work diary. He sought a review of the penalty notice with Revenue NSW, which was a waste of time and effort, as usual, and duly elected to have the matter dealt with by the Court.

This is where Highway Advocates stepped in and we prepared a detailed sentencing submission upon a guilty plea. This submission took into account many factors, including Rod’s long-standing road safety advocacy and his outstanding driving record over more than thirty years of driving heavy vehicles.

Fast forward to a busy local court in Dubbo on a chilly Wednesday morning, where we appeared and secured a section 10(1)(a) Crimes (Sentencing Procedure) Act (NSW) dismissal, which means no conviction, penalty or demerit points. A fine result indeed…

Something of concern that we took from this matter was the way the NSW Police deal with defence lawyers and defendants. Because this was a penalty notice election matter, the police believe we are not entitled to a brief of evidence. This is plainly wrong, as the Criminal Procedure Act 1986 (NSW) section 187(5) states that a prosecution brief is not required to be served in proceedings for an offence for which a penalty notice may be issued. However, not required to serve does not mean not required to supply if requested, especially if you are legally represented.

Further to that point, the Court Attendance Notice was wrong, and the police prosecutor refused to deal with it. So it was left to us to apply to the Court to amend the charge, and the Court did not hesitate to dismiss the charge once these details were outlined.

We intend to write a more detailed post in the near future about how prosecutions are conducted in general in NSW, by police and Transport for NSW.

Click here to read Rod’s blog >>

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