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QLD Parking Fine - I Paid but was Fined?

Discussion in 'Traffic Law Forum' started by Damian_1969, 25 June 2015.

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  1. Damian_1969

    Damian_1969 Active Member

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    Hi all,

    Thank you for looking into this for me.

    Here are the facts.

    About a month ago, I moved back to the Gold Coast after an approx. 10 year absence "I moved down from Brisbane". I parked out the front of the new building I was signing the lease at, and noted the spots were metered.I walked forward to the meter "the meter was forward of my parking spot, about 3 spaces forward"
    I noted the parking spot number in front of my vehicle "all spots have a number, whereas in Brisbane you enter your rego number" and went to the meter to pay for an hours parking so I could sign the lease.

    When I returned to my vehicle some 25 mins later, I had a fine notice on my car. Puzzled, I look at the fine and it said something like "fail to pay for prescribed parking" or something to that affect. I then looked again, and noted the parking number, for my spot, was actually to the rear of my vehicle, so I actually accidentally paid for the spot that was in front of vehicle, but I did still pay for parking.

    Given the parking meter was forward of my position I feel this was an honest mistake, so I wrote to the council using their website portal which allows you to challenge the fine, stating that it was an honest mistake, I did actually pay for a spot "and provided my bank statement to prove this", albeit the wrong spot, because the meter is forward of my parking position, so who walks backwards to then walk forwards? It was an honest mistake but given I paid for a spot can I be let off the fine?

    After a month they got back to me saying "For future reference all parking bay numbers are rear of the parking spot" and basically "no, we are not letting you off the fine and we consider the matter closed"
    Needless to say I feel a bit hard done by, it was an honest mistake and I did pay for a parking spot, I have proof of this.

    My question is, is this worth challenging? As they have refused to pay me back my parking meter fee, but are also not cancelling the fine? Surely this can't be legal? Happy to fight it if the expert community think it is worth the fight. All the above is true and correct, that is exactly how it happened.

    What do you all think? Fight, or pay and be angry and bitter about an honest mistake.

    Thank you.
     
  2. Sophea

    Sophea Well-Known Member

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    Hi Damian_1969,

    I know that 'mistake of fact' has been successfully used as a legal defence to things like speeding fines and parking tickets, however I have never personally seen it used in a situation such as yours. I suppose your argument would be that you were not mistaken as to the law (the requirement to pay for parking) you were mistaken as to a factual matter, but still complied with the law under your mistaken impression). It might be worth a go but it may be a long a painful process. I am interesting to see some other comments on this.
     
  3. Damian_1969

    Damian_1969 Active Member

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    Thanks Sophea, you worded that beautifully. That is exactly the point im trying to get across. I did not intentionally set out to break the law. I thought i had complied. I too am interested if others would like to comment. For me, I feel its worth fighting as it's the principal involved because i actually paid for parking, albeit erroneously.
     
  4. Tracy B

    Tracy B Well-Known Member

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    Hi Damian_1969,

    Have you looked into your council's internal dispute resolution system? Does your council have a disputes commissioner who reviews level 2 disputes (i.e. decisions from a council officer)? After this, you can contact the State Ombudsman (which reviews decisions by council members and other state institutions). This is worth doing, if you haven't already, as they are free and easier than arguing before the Magistrates' Court.
     
  5. Damian_1969

    Damian_1969 Active Member

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    Hi Tracey.
    Yes, I used the dispute resolution service and they got back to me with a "no, pay the fine" but i did not know about a commissioner so i will look into that.
    I also was not aware i could take a matter such as this to an ombusman, so thank you for this information. It was very helpful
     
  6. Tracy B

    Tracy B Well-Known Member

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    No problem Damian, let me know how it goes with the Ombudsman and what their view on the matter is.
     
  7. Damian_1969

    Damian_1969 Active Member

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    I submitted the ombudsman form last week. Just waiting to hear back from them. Fingers crossed. I'm honestly not a person who normally challenges these type of things, if i did the crime i pay the fine, but i feel in this instance the fine should have been cancelled by council. What's the difference if i paid for the bit of road in front of me? I still paid! That is why I want to challenge this as it was an honest mistake. You should see the pic i took of the parking spot number that I used "the one in front of me" Anyone would of thought that it was the correct spot number. Anyhow, let's see how I go :)

    Thanks again to you and everyone else for your help :)
     
  8. Damian_1969

    Damian_1969 Active Member

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    Hi all.

    Pleased to report that the pressure from the ombudsmen seems to have done the trick. The ombudsmen stated that they can't overturn the fine, but they can certainly ask council for another review, but this time with a better response from council than "no, pay the fine"

    So they asked for the second review requesting a more detailed explanation of why i should still pay the fine when i have clearly made an honest mistake and paid for parking albeit in the wrong spot.

    The letter i received from council last night reads "upon a second review we acknowledge that you have paid for parking, however the wrong parking bay was entered. Given we accepted payment for your parking, in this instance only, we will withdraw the fine. Please note that all parking bay numbers are to the rear of the parking bays regardless of where the parking meter is located"

    So yay :) Thanks everyone for your help. A win for the little guy, and common sense I think. They really need to change that parking system..its horrible, but maybe it's meant to be! Entering a rego number, like we do in Brisbane, makes more sense. It also means council saves money because they dont need to paint and maintain parking bay numbers!

    Thanks again all :)
     
    Tracy B likes this.
  9. Tracy B

    Tracy B Well-Known Member

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    Glad the ombudsman helped and you got a positive response from the council!
     
  10. Ally-paige

    Ally-paige Member

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    Hey, could you please help me out? The exact same thing has happened to me and it took them 3 months to send me an email saying I must still pay the fine. I can't find any links or options to talk to the ombudsman. They have said that I can only dispute a fine once and it was rejected now, I must pay or go to court.
     

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