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Queensland Judgments
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  • Unreported Judgment

Parr v Department of Transport and Main Roads

 

[2020] QDC 153

DISTRICT COURT OF QUEENSLAND

CITATION:

Parr v Department of Transport and Main Roads [2020] QDC 153

PARTIES:

ANTHONY CRAIG PARR

(appellant)

v

QUEENSLAND POLICE SERVICE

(respondent)

FILE NO/S:

001/20

DIVISION:

Civil

PROCEEDING:

Appeal

ORIGINATING COURT:

Magistrates Court, Ipswich

DELIVERED ON:

7 July 2020

DELIVERED AT:

Ipswich

HEARING DATE:

24 March 2020

JUDGE:

Horneman-Wren SC DCJ

ORDER:

The appeal is dismissed

CATCHWORDS:

MAGISTRATES – APPEAL AND REVIEW – QUEENSLAND – APPEAL – where applicant’s drivers licence suspended for accumulation of demerit points – where special hardship order applied for – where special hardship order application stayed suspension until day before hearing of application –  where special hardship order refused – whether applicant had authority to drive a motor vehicle on the road

COUNSEL:

The appellant appeared in person

Ms K Dodds for the respondent

SOLICITORS:

Senior Legal Officer, Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions for the respondent

  1. [1]
    On 10 December 2019, a magistrate convicted the appellant, Mr Parr, of driving without a driver's licence.[1] He was disqualified from holding or obtaining a driver’s licence for a period of 6 months,[2] was fined $200 and a conviction was recorded.  He appeals against his conviction.
  1. [2]
    The notice of appeal sets out the following grounds of appeal:
  • That the magistrate erred by failing to consider that the Queensland Police Service (‘QPS’) and the Office of the Director or Public Prosecutions (‘ODPP’) acted illegally, did not follow court directions and did not respect the appellant as a self-represented litigant;
  • That the magistrate erred by placing weight on the unprofessionalism and incompetence of the ODPP;
  • That the magistrate made an error of law and did not allow the appellant, a self-represented litigant, to present evidence and explain its relevance;
  • That the magistrate erred in considering whether due processes had been followed;
  • That the magistrate erred in failing to understand and consider how a self-represented litigant, who had been denied legal representation, may be confused by the court process and highly emotive; and
  • That the magistrate erred by not taking into consideration the fact that extenuating circumstances existed, including that the QPS and ODPP acted illegally by not following court directions.
  1. [3]
    At the hearing, the appellant appeared by telephone and expanded on his appeal grounds in oral submissions. The appellant’s further submissions suggested that his appeal grounds included a denial of natural justice, on the basis that, amongst other things, in the hearing in the Magistrates Court he was not allowed to “present evidence on the stand”, by referring to his prepared notes during cross-examination.[3]

Background

  1. [4]
    On 5 March 2019, the appellant’s driver’s licence was suspended because of an accumulation of demerit points.[4] The suspension was for a period of six-months. The appellant lodged an application for a special hardship order at the Ipswich Magistrates Court. A hearing date was set for 16 April 2019.
  1. [5]
    On 16 April 2019, the special hardship order was dismissed by the Magistrates Court. The appellant had failed to appear.
  1. [6]
    On 9 May 2019, the appellant was stopped in his vehicle by two police officer’s conducting patrols. One of the officers conducted a police check on the appellant’s licence, which revealed it was suspended and informed the appellant of this. The appellant told the Officer that he had made an application for a special hardship order in the Magistrates Court at Ipswich and believed he had permission to drive. The appellant told the Officer he had documentation in support of this application having been made but was unable to provide it at the time. The Officer issued the appellant a ‘Notice to Appear’ and instructed him to bring any supporting documentation to the Gatton police station. The appellant subsequently attended Gatton police station and provided a receipt to prove he had lodged an application to the Magistrates Court at Ipswich for a special hardship order and because of this application he believed he was able to drive.
  1. [7]
    On 15 May 2019, the appellant lodged a subsequent special hardship order at the Magistrates Court at Ipswich. This court date was originally set for 9 July 2019, however, was adjourned until 8 October 2019.
  1. [8]
    On 8 October 2019, the second application was also dismissed.
  1. [9]
    The central issue on the appeal is whether the appellant had authority to drive a motor vehicle on the road on 9 May 2019.

Did the appellant have authority to drive on the road?

  1. [10]
    Section 78(1) of the TORUM Act makes it an offence for a person to drive a motor vehicle on a road unless the person holds a driver licence authorising the person to drive the vehicle on the road. The maximum penalty for committing this offence whilst disqualified from holding or obtaining a driver licence other than by court order is 40 penalty units or 12 months imprisonment.[5]
  1. [11]
    Section 127(4)(a) of the TORUM Act prescribes that suspension of any licence shall, while the licence is suspended, have the same effect as cancellation of the licence. Therefore, a person whose licence is suspended does not, during the suspension period, hold a Driver licence authorising them to drive a vehicle on a road. 
  1. [12]
    The legislative scheme under Part 14 of the Transport Operations (Road Use Management—Driver Licensing) Regulation 2010 (‘the TORUM Regulation’) provides a regime under which persons whose open or provisional drivers licence has been suspended for accumulation of demerit points may obtain, on application to a Magistrates Court, a special hardship order, authorising the person to continue to drive motor vehicles under their licence in stated circumstances.[6]
  1. [13]
    The appellant was eligible to apply for a special hardship order.[7]
  1. [14]
    If a special hardship order is made, the suspension of the person’s open or provisional licence ends when the order is made and the person is authorised to drive under a Queensland driver licence subject to the restrictions stated in the order.[8] If a court refuses to make a special hardship order, the suspension of the person’s open or provisional licence continues for the period of the licence’s suspension.[9]
  1. [15]
    Relevantly, lodging an application for a special hardship order stays the suspension. Section 108 of the TORUM Regulation provides that the suspension of a person’s open or provisional licence is stayed from the day the chief executive receives a copy of the application for a special hardship order until the day before the date of the hearing of the application. Therefore, although the appellant had his licence suspended, the suspension was stayed from 5 March 2019, but only until 15 April 2019, the day before the hearing in the Magistrates Court.
  1. [16]
    In the hearing on 10 December 2019, the appellant gave evidence that he did not receive any notification that he was unable to drive after the hearing on 16 April 2019. He further submitted that he defended the charge on the basis that he was not respected as a self-represented litigant and that he was subject to duress and due processes not being followed in another matter the appellant had before the court, making it reasonable to expect that a person, in the appellant’s position, would forget about a court date.
  1. [17]
    Whilst it is understood that the appellant genuinely holds these views, the matters put forward by him do not have any bearing on his authority to drive on 9 May 2019 and were, therefore, irrelevant to the charge of disqualified driving, except, perhaps, to mitigation of penalty.
  1. [18]
    Further, at the 10 December 2019 hearing, the appellant’s lack of authority to drive was conclusively established.
  1. [19]
    Exhibit 2 was a certificate produced by a delegate of the Chief Executive of the Department of Transport and Main Roads. Section 60(2)(b) of the TORUM Act  prescribes that a certificate stating that a specified licence under the Act was not in force in relation a specific person is evidence of that matter. Section 60(2)(8) prescribes a certificate stating specified details of a suspension is evidence of that matter.
  1. [20]
    Further, s 124(g) of the TORUM Act prescribes that a document purporting to be signed by the Chief Executive stating that at any stated time there was not in force a licence as described therein issued to a stated person shall be evidence of that matter and in the absence of rebuttal, conclusive evidence.
  1. [21]
    Exhibit 2 was stated to be a certificate for the purposes of each of ss 60(2)(b), (g) and 124.
  1. [22]
    Paragraph 1 of Exhibit 2 read:

“On 09 May 2019, there was not in force a driver licence issued under the Transport Operations (Road Use Management) Act 1995 and Transport Operations (Road Use Management) Driver Licence Regulation 2010 to Anthony Craig PARR, date of birth 27September 1974, driver licence number 036148860.”

  1. [23]
    Paragraph 2 of Exhibit 2 certificate read:

“As at 09 May 2019, driver licence number 03618860, held by Anthony Craig PARR was suspended under the Transport Operations (Road Use Management – Driver Licence) Regulation 2010 as a result of the accumulation of demerit points during a good driving behaviour period. The suspension was for a period of 06 months, effective on and from 05 March 2019 and expiring on 04 September 2019.”

  1. [24]
    The certificate was evidence of those matters. There was no rebuttal, as there could not be, of the statement that his licence was not in force at the relevant time. Thus, the certificate was conclusive proof of that matter.
  1. [25]
    It is clear that the appellant did not have authority to drive on 9 May 2019. The appellant’s driver’s licence was suspended and the stay of the suspension imposed by the special hardship order application expired on 15 April 2019, the day before the hearing. Whilst the appellant became subject to another stay, upon the subsequent further application for a special hardship order, such application was not lodged until 15 May 2019. Therefore, the second stay on the appellant’s driver’s licence suspension did not commence until after the 9 May 2019, the date the offence.
  1. [26]
    It was not the dismissal on 16 April 2018 of the appellant’s application for a special hardship order which caused him to be an unlicensed driver on 9 May 2019. That decision did not remove the stay of the suspension. The stay was removed the previous day by operation of law, under s 108 of the TORUM Regulation.
  1. [27]
    For these reasons, I am of the view that even if the appellant was mistaken as to the stay of the suspension still being operable beyond 15 April 2019, this could only amount to a mistake of law and not a mistake of fact as the stay ceased on 15 April 2019, by operation of law.
  1. [28]
    The appeal against conviction must be dismissed.
  1. [29]
    Although the Notice of Appeal did not raise any appeal grounds challenging the sentence imposed by the learned magistrate, for completeness, I would make the following observations. As already mentioned, the period of disqualification was the minimum period which could be imposed. As to the fine of $200, his Honour sad that he was significantly tempering the fine from that which he would otherwise have imposed. This would appear to have been in recognition of the matters which Mr Parr had raised concerning the circumstances in which he came to commit the offence. The fine does appear modest. It could not be concluded that the sentence imposed was excessive.

Footnotes

[1]Transport Operations (Road Use Management) Act 1995 (‘TORUM Act’) s 78(1)(a).

[2]  The 6 months disqualification was the mandatory period prescribed by s 78(3)b) of the TORUM Act.

[3]  Transcript 24/03/2020 page 1-8, line 41.

[4]Transport Operations (Road Use Management – Driver Licencing) Regulation 2010 s 79.

[5]Transport Operations (Road Use Management) Act 1995 s 78(1)(b).

[6]Transport Operations (Road Use Management – Driver Licencing) Regulation 2010 ss 79, 83, 103, 104 and 105.

[7] Transport Operations (Road Use Management – Driver Licencing) Regulation 2010 s 106.

[8]Transport Operations (Road Use Management – Driver Licencing) Regulation 2010 s 113(1).

[9]Transport Operations (Road Use Management – Driver Licencing) Regulation 2010 s 113(2).

Close

Editorial Notes

  • Published Case Name:

    Anthony Craig Parr v Department of Transport and Main Roads

  • Shortened Case Name:

    Parr v Department of Transport and Main Roads

  • MNC:

    [2020] QDC 153

  • Court:

    QDC

  • Judge(s):

    Horneman-Wren DCJ

  • Date:

    07 Jul 2020

Appeal Status

Please note, appeal data is presently unavailable for this judgment. This judgment may have been the subject of an appeal.
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