RLC in the Media: Lawyers push to waive COVID fines issued to children as young as 13

The New South Wales government is resisting growing calls to scrap tens of thousands of COVID fines, which lawyers say were unjustly issued, including to a teenager with an intellectual disability.

Jason Ong reports for ABC 730.

The question of whether the government and NSW Police were heavy-handed in their pandemic response will be argued in a test case before the NSW Supreme Court.

The Redfern Legal Centre hopes its legal challenge will quash 45,000 fines, which it says failed to properly outline the offence committed.

"The process was unjust, messy, and the rule of law was not followed," the centre's Samantha Lee told 7.30.

"This is a form of unjust treatment to children," Ms Lee said. "These children have been fined for $1,000, $3,000 and $5,000.

The Human Rights Commissioner Lorraine Finlay told 7.30 she wants to see all fines suspended nationally given the system disproportionately affected poorer communities in NSW and Victoria. 

"It's actually a nationwide issue, and what we really need to do is firstly, in respect to the fines, pause enforcement until they can be properly reviewed so that the public can have confidence that the fine system is lawful and working fairly," she said.

View the full story on ABC iView (ABC 730, 10 August 2022)

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Lawyers push to waive COVID fines issued to children as young as 13 (ABC 730, 10 August 2022)