People in NSW who have received a COVID-19 on-the-spot fine can contact Redfern Legal Centre for free legal advice.
In just over a month, at the start of NSW's COVID-19 epidemic, NSW Police issued over $1 million in fines for breach of social distancing orders under the Public Health Act 2010 (NSW).
The data, obtained by RLC and published by The Sydney Morning Herald, showed that NSW Police issued a total of 1018 on-the-spot fines to individuals from (26 March 2020 to 8 May 2020) under s10 and 11 of the Public Health Act 2010.
“The fines are among the largest on-the-spot fines police can issue, and the largest on-the-spot police fine that can be issued to a child aged 10 to 18," RLC police accountability solicitor Samantha Lee said.
Children as young as ten can be issued with a fine under s10 of the Public Health Act 2010 (NSW). This is different to a penalty notice issued for a criminal offence, which prohibits penalty notices being issued to children under the age of 18 years (s335, Criminal Procedure Act 1986 (NSW).
RLC was concerned that many of the individuals fined would not have the means to pay a $1,000 fine, and believed that many fines may have been issued unlawfully because the public health orders have been made in haste and have been very difficult to understand and apply
"These fines are a significant monetary penalty, and have been issued during a time when many people are facing dire financial circumstances," Ms Lee said.
In response, RLC established a free COVID-19 fines advice service to provide the public with information on payment and review options.
If you have received a COVID-19 fine in NSW, contact RLC for confidential and free legal advice.