The Redfern Legal Centre (RLC) has urged the government to dismiss all COVID-19-related fines following the NSW Supreme Court’s clarification of what makes a fine valid.
Jacqueline So reporting in Australasian Lawyer.
“This judgment calls into disrepute all remaining COVID-19 fines because the fines do not meet the legal requirement of a valid penalty notice”, explained Samantha Lee, RLC police accountability solicitor.
“The government must now do the right thing and withdraw all COVID-19 fines that were issued, including withdrawing those offences for which individuals elected to take to court, any Work and Development Orders and reimburse fines already paid. This case is not about COVID-19 or about public health orders. It is about ensuring the rule of law is adhered to even in a time of crisis”.
The court determined that two COVID-19 fines were invalid in November 2022, and Revenue NSW dismissed 33,121 such fines. However, 29,017 fines are still outstanding.
The RLC explained that while the ruling was made in relation to a test case about COVID-19-related fines that was filed by the organisation in July 2022, it may also impact other fines involving unspecified penalty notice offences.