Innocent Until Proven Guilty


A couple of months ago I got a letter in the mail attached to a parking infringement notice claiming I had double parked out of the front of my kids’ school one morning and fining me $66.

Now I don’t remember ever double parking. So I sent them a letter asking for clarification. They sent me the above letter. Basically it says “well you did it so pay up or else”.

I just sent them a follow up email which states:

I am unfortunately unable to accept your assertion that I committed the said offense and respectfully request
evidence to support your claim before I consent to pay the fine. I believe in this country we are still considered innocent until proven guilty.

What do you think they will do? And do you think my position is fair? Should a council just be able to send you fines in the mail without providing evidence of your supposed crime? Or does this fit under the Federal Government’s new terror laws and I can be picked up by ASIO and held for questioning for ten days without even being informed of the charges?

12 thoughts on “Innocent Until Proven Guilty

  1. It’s now standard practice in Canberra that parking inspectors will take digital photographs of your car and surrounding area and signs when they fine you … I’m guessing that too many people were pulling them up on the very fact about lack of evidence, so I think that you should be able to get your infringement cancelled.

    I got off one a few months ago because I argued the signage was too ambigious plus trees were partially obscuring several of the signs.

    Good luck!

  2. In Surry Hills, I see parking cops taking pictures of infringing vehicles with PDA-like devices, so I’d can assume your council do something similar. I believe you are in your rights (as you are for a speed camera ticket) to see that evidence, in return for an admin fee. Keep us updated!

  3. I had a friend in the same predicament. She asked for evidence and they produced a photo. Funny though – the photo actually proved that she was NOT parked illegally. She got off. Guilty until proven innocent – stick it to ’em Cam!

  4. Well hold on… your further right to appeal is in court, which is where you get to plead your case. Pretty standard for fines of this type. Assuming there’s no other evidence, it appears to be the officer’s word against yours.

  5. Firstly, someone should write to the council concerned about the poor grammar in the letter they sent you. There are at least three instances of incorrect grammar, and to be honest I don’t think thats acceptable on an official document.

    I’d be guessing that you’ll have to go to court as the next step if you want to pursue it. From the tone of their letter, no further correspondence will be considered in the matter.

    You take a bet. Unless they have photographic evidence (and I believe they should’ve disclosed that in their letter to you), it will be your word against that of the council officer. He will have to provide specific detail of time and location and exactly what occured, as it will be his word against yours.

    I believe that theres some chance the officer may not even turn up in court, and may elect to provide an affidavit. If he doesn’t do that, his word will not have much impact.

    But, if his word is strong, chances are your fine will stick, and you’ll waste the time in court. If you believe you’re innocent, have the time and the passion to fight (the last is a no-brainer for you), then fight it. Otherwise, just pay the fine!

    Let us know how you go!

  6. I have fought a few battles with parking shit and never won. That is not to say that you won’t – in fact I hope that you do.

    They seem to be a law unto their own. I also agree that there is assumption that you have done the wrong thing without the burden of proof being on them. It is like – well you did it prove you did not. When in fact you have hit the nail on the head –> it is up to them to proove you did!

    Good Luck

  7. I don’t get it, the office should take a photo of your car with the penalty notice put behind you wiper. And a second photo depicting the illegal parking spot. I got that in the UK. Saying you did it just because they think so is funny.

  8. Raf,

    He was double parked. They claim that he stopped, let the kids out and then drove off. They wouldn’t have had a chance to put a ticket on his car.

    Not sure what the rubbish about the Terror Act has to do with it, but it seems that you have a very nice out and that is to take them to Court. Seems fair enough to me!

    I am glad to hear that you have never double parked in front of a school and as thats the case it should be a simple case to prove as you should have at least one witness (if not two seeings as I believe both your boys go to the same school and would be able to testify under oath that daddy never just stops on the road and lets them out) to support your case and unless as other have said (perhaps on your blog) they have taken a photo that shows you in the wrong (which would have to be an optical illusion as you never double park!), in which case, I am not sure if you would have to also pay court costs.

    Now, I understand the idea of innocent till proven guilty, but I personally accept in the traffic fines area that this is very tricky and that its fair enough to reverse the roles as lets face it, most people are guilty and only say they are innocent (not saying that in this case).

    And it seems that your email was a waste of bits as they clearly say that “no further reviews will be conducted”.

    Good luck.


  9. Cam,

    I’ve had the same thing happen to me, but instead of double parking, they alleged I stopped in a NO STANDING area out the front on a school. What I had done was pull up behind a vehicle that was in the drop-off zone, and waited for abour 20secs until the child left the vehicle in front of me and the car drove off. I then drove forward into that LEGAL spot and dropped my kid off.

    Not good enough, according to them. I was parked in a no standing zone. Being parked assumes taking the vehicle out of gear, does it not?? Arseholes!

    Anyway, a few days later I parked my vehicle in a legal spot and saw the council bloke (the turd!) taking down rego numbers. There’s a difference between doing your job and just being a right royal arse!

    Anyway, if you double parked just pay up and shut up. If you didn’t, let them know your thoughts. You’ll end up paying anyways, so at least get your moneys worth. 🙂


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