Application for rehearing
Evade Police; Careless Driving; Loss of Traction. Ringwood Magistrates’ Court.
Client received a summons to go to Court in relation the above charges. The client had initially seen another lawyer who wasn’t sure how to best approach the case and eventually told the client that he could not assist.
The client was going overseas and could not be at the hearing, so he tried to have the case adjourned over the phone. The case was adjourned – not so the client could attend but so an ex-parte hearing could occur (a hearing in the absence of the client where the police informant gives direct evidence to the Court). This sometimes occurs when a defendant has little prior history and is likely to receive a fine.
The matter proceeded as an ex-parte hearing. The client was notified by mail that he was suspended from driving for a period of 4 months and had to pay a considerable fine.
The client was not happy with the above outcome. It was strange in any case, because under section 64A of the Road Safety Act the mandatory minimum time that a Magistrate must take a defendant’s licence is six months, not four.
The client wanted the rehearing to challenge the Evade Police charge. The first challenge was to make the application to have the matter heard before a Magistrate. The client was in a good position because he attended our office within 14 days of being notified of the Court outcome.
After discussing the matter with the prosecution they indicated they would not oppose. The application was then fairly straightforward. Once the rehearing date was set, we made a successful application for the client to be able to drive in the interim period.
Finally, the charges needed to be negotiated. The prosecution’s case for an Evade Police charge was not strong. They had based the charge on the client’s admission that he drove quickly but within the speed limit away from police because he did not want to be pulled over. The police conceded there were no sirens or other indicators that they intended to pull the client over. The police withdrew the charge.
This left the Loss of Traction charge. Under the Road Safety Act, this charge carries no demerit points, no mandatory minimum time off the road and a maximum fine of 5 penalty units (about $600). On a plea of guilty the client received the maximum fine and no time off the road. As the client needed his licence for work, this was an excellent outcome.