Friday, April 10, 2015

Barrister Tony Morris says thousands of car owners would get refunds if he wins speed camera case

THE top barrister who is challenging the state’s speed-camera law says the government may be forced to refund thousands of registered car owners who have paid fines. 
 
Tony Morris, QC, 54, from Hamilton, told The Courier-Mail he would need to win his battle with the government in court for the motorists to get the windfall.

“There would probably be thousands of people,” Mr Morris said. “The (legal flaw) needs to be fixed up.”

LANDMARK CASE: QC uses age-old law to fight speeding fine

In 2013 the Transport Department issued 72,442 fixed speed-camera fines for drivers who were doing less than 13 km/h over the limit. This made up two-thirds of the total number of fines issued of 113,235.

The Department said 2014 figures were not yet available.

Mr Morris chose to test the speed-camera legislation, passed in 1995, after a pale blue Volvo SUV registered in his name was snapped speeding at 57km/h in a 50km/h zone in St Lucia early on May 12 last year.

Six weeks later Mr Morris told the Transport Department he did not wish to name the car’s driver. He invoked spousal privilege by pointing to a case from 1817 and said he wanted the case heard in court.


By January he declared it was unconstitutional for a Queensland Court to fine him when there was evidence showing he was not driving.

Mr Morris said he was not a scrooge or trying to dodge his legal duty. He did not dispute the car was speeding and he was not fighting the $146 ticket in a bid to protect his wife Alice Hampson from demerit points. Nor was he protecting the identity of another person driving the car.

“This (case) is not about the money and it’s not about (me) dodging my legal responsibilities. It is simply a test case, to see whether the legislation is valid. (If I win) the decision could also change legislation not only in Queensland but in other states,” he said.

Tony Morris QC outside Parliament House in Brisbane. Pictures: Jack Tran
Tony Morris QC outside Parliament House in Brisbane. Pictures: Jack Tran
 
Mr Morris said he only went to court as a so-called “test case” because the size of the speeding fine was so “trivial”.

“If it was a situation where someone was driving 100km/h in a 60km/h zone I would (not bring a case).
“I think (in that situation) it’s such a serious matter you ought to just pay the fine.”

Mr Morris said he chose to challenge the law because he could afford to foot the hefty legal bill if he fails, but if he were to represent a Queensland motorist they may struggle to stump up the fees.

They could potentially reach six figures if the battle goes to the High Court and costs are awarded against Mr Morris.

He has a legal pedigree, and has been a barrister for 31 years and a QC for 22 of those.

The case will be heard by the Court of Appeal in coming weeks. No date for hearing has been set.

 couriermail.com.au 9 Apr 2015

"Barrister Tony Morris says thousands of car owners would get refunds if he wins speed camera case "

That is EXACTLY why the corrupt legal system will not let him win.

He then has the right to carry out a judicial review on the so called magistrate.

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