Queensland barrister uses 200-year-old law to challenge speeding fine
Article from Brisbane Times.
A top Queensland barrister will use case law dating back 200 years to try to avoid a $146 speeding fine.
Tony Morris, QC, is mounting a landmark legal challenge against Queensland’s speed-camera laws, News Corp reports.
Mr Morris says he wasn’t driving when his Volvo was photographed doing 57km/h in a 50km/h zone last year.
But he won’t say who was behind the wheel.
He has invoked a spousal privilege case from 1817, arguing it’s unconstitutional for a Queensland court to fine him when there’s evidence he was not the driver.
He says he was in a meeting with top judges when the Volvo was snapped, and they are willing to testify that he was with them.
He argues the spousal privilege principle, established in England 200 years ago, means a husband can’t be compelled to provide information that incriminates his wife.
“I decline to identify the person who was in charge of the vehicle at the relevant time,” Mr Morris reportedly wrote in a letter to the Department of Transport.
Queensland Attorney-General Yvette D’Ath said any individual had the right to challenge a decision of the court.
“And he has taken that opportunity to do so, so we need to let the court do its work and we will wait and see what those decisions are and what the implications are of that decision,” she said.
“I am not going to pre-empt and I have made it clear as the Attorney General I am not going to give running commentary on proceedings before the courts. Let’s wait and see. There are a lot of hypotheticals that could come out of this.
“Mr Morris has chosen to proceed and, at a lot of expense, to challenge this particular issue and that is his prerogative to do so, but I am not going to pre-empt what that decision might be.
“If a decision comes down and it means we need to re-look at the legislation, we’ll look at the legislation.”
Earlier this year, Mr Morris wrote to federal, state and territory attorneys-general saying he planned to challenge parts of Queensland’s speed-camera laws.
Under the laws, the registered owner of a car has two options: name the driver or say they don’t know who was driving.
Car owners can’t, under the law, say they know who the driver was but refuse to give a name.
Mr Morris has told News Corp he can’t see why he should dob someone in for driving the car when the legislation is invalid.
He said the Volvo caught by the speed camera was not his usual car, but would not tell the paper who usually drove it.
The case will go to the Court of Appeal within weeks.
Amy Remeikis and AAP
Video available on the Brisbane Times website, the source of this article.