Top barrister loses speeding fine appeal

A barrister who argued that he should not be liable for a speeding offence committed in his car but refused to identify the real driver of the vehicle lost his appeal yesterday.

A Queensland barrister attempting to avoid a $146 speeding fine by appealing to the state’s highest court has lost his appeal.

Tony Morris QC challenged the validity of part of the Transport Operations (Road Use Management) Act 1995, when he argued in court last month that he should not be found liable for the infringement because he wasn’t behind the wheel when his car was pinged exceeding the speed limit by 7km/h in Brisbane last year.

Unusually for a speeding matter, Morris cited an 1817 spousal privilege case and declined to name the driver of his Volvo at the time of the incident. He argued that it was unconstitutional for the court to fine him as the registered owner of the car when he was not driving the vehicle at the time.

Had he won the case, the state would have been forced to swiftly close the loophole. 

The Act states that if the person in charge is not the offending driver, criminal responsibility for the offending will be attributed to two individuals, although only one can be punished.

A barrister representing the Queensland Police Service and the Attorney-General said that there was nothing remarkable about the law and that he could fill out a statutory declaration in his defence. The Court of Appeal found that there was no problem with the existing steps taken to identify the offending driver, AAP reported.

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