Thousands of Covid-19 fines worth millions of dollars could be ruled invalid if two Sydneysiders win a landmark test case in the New South Wales Supreme Court.
Stephen Gibbs reports for Daily Mail Australia
The man and woman claim their infringement notices were issued in such vague terms they could not be legally enforced and would be difficult, if not impossible, to challenge in front of a magistrate.
Redfern Legal Centre is running the case against the NSW Police Commissioner and Commissioner of Fines Administration on behalf of Brenden Beame and Teal Els.
If they win their actions it could set a precedent that sees many of more than 45,000 such unpaid fines for Covid-related public health order breaches in NSW withdrawn.
Samantha Lee, senior police accountability solicitor at the Redfern Legal Centre, said public health orders changed 71 times between July and September last year - sometimes twice in one day.
Everyone was just confused,' she said. 'What we have seen was this pattern of people being fined not according to law. 'Public health orders were not being applied correctly by police. What we found was that even Revenue NSW was applying the law wrongly or not applying the law at all.'
Ms Lee said fines were generally issued to people engaged in recreation or exercise and for not observing distance rules but some were for pursuing activities as basic as grocery shopping.
'In most cases people weren’t flouting the laws,' she said. 'The laws were being applied wrongly.'
'The crux of our mater is that these Covid fines are not fines because they don't satisfy the legislative requirement under the Fines Act.'