On 29 March 2010, Campbelltown District Court Judge H Murrell determined that our client be disqualified from holding a driver’s licence for 12 months, as a result of several driving offences. The disqualification was to run from 4 December 2009 to 3 December 2010. Once the period had expired, our client went to the RMS (when it was known as the Roads and Traffic Authority, or RTA) to apply for his licence – only to be told by the RTA that he would be not be eligible to drive until March 2011.
In refusing to allow our client to obtain a licence, the RTA have effectively overriden the disqualification orders made by a District Court Judge. In doing so, the RTA have effectively deprived our client of his ability to go to work and earn a living.
In another case Jason Fewel v DPP  NSWDC 195, a person appealed against the severity of 6 months disqualification period imposed by a Local Court Magistrate for a low range drink driving offence. Judge Ainsllie-Wallace of the District Court determined that period of disqualification be reduced from 6 months to 3 months to commence on 4 May 2010.There was no further appeal or litigation by either party after this decision. We can therefore conclude that neither party claimed there to be any error in the decision of the District Court Judge. Consequently, the orders made by Judge Ainsllie-Wallace are entitled to be regarded as binding upon the parties and others affected by those orders.
Notwithstanding the above, the Certifications and Court Convictions Unit of the RTA in NSW, took the view that her Honour’s orders were not in compliance with the law and refused to restore this person’s licence to him. This is another example of the Executive arm of government, the RTA, interfering with the determination of a judicial officer.
Up until very recently, a person could go to court and have a matter dismissed without a conviction being recorded pursuant to section 10 Crimes (Sentencing Procedure) Act – only to then have the RTA take the demerit points notwithstanding the court’s determination that it is not appropriate to record a conviction or impose a penalty. This gross unfairness has finally been rectified.