It Begins: Australia to Cancel or Refund Tens of Thousands of Fines Issued During COVID Pandemic – Government Lawyers Admit Some Fines were ‘Invalid’

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Australia is famous for its totalitarian COVID restrictions and vaccine mandates. The Deputy Premier of NSW boldly declared that even businesses that accept unvaccinated people would be subject to exceptionally heavy fines back in 2021.

Australia’s Northern Territory imposed an authoritarian lockdown on citizens who have not been ‘fully vaccinated’ against Covid-19 as officials scrambled to deal with the highly-mild Omicron variant back in January.

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Any individual 16 or older and who was not fully vaccinated will not be able to leave their homes, even if it’s to go to work or to get exercise outdoors.

According to the state’s Chief Health Officer, trivial necessities like making a living or breathing fresh air are no longer “essential” because the restriction of people’s free movement is “critical.”

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Last year, the government summoned the Australian military to relocate people in the Northern Territory with COVID-19 and their “close contacts” to quarantine camps or what people mostly called ‘concentration camps.’

Hidden camera footage was leaked from inside a forced Covid-19 quarantine camp in Australia, where the Aussie officials were seen giving a warning to a woman that if she walked off her balcony onto the path next to her confinement shelter, it’s a $5,000 fine.

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On Tuesday, government lawyers admitted in a test case brought by a legal advocacy group that some fines were illegal.

Redfern Legal Centre, a pro bono law firm, filed a test case in July on behalf of three people who had been fined between $1,000 and A$3,000 and argued that the fines were invalid because the penalty notices did not sufficiently describe the offense, Reuters reported.

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The largest Australian state has announced that it will withdraw or refund thousands of penalties imposed during the COVID outbreak.

The Commissioner of Fines Administration rescinded 33,121 of the 62,138 COVID-related fines that had been issued. The ruling does not affect any outstanding fines, 29,017 fines would still need to be paid.

All penalties, including license suspensions, will be lifted. Refunds will be issued to those who have already paid.

Daily Mail reported:

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On Tuesday morning, barrister David Kell SC for the Commissioner of Fines Administration and Commissioner of Police told the court the penalty notices would no longer be enforced.

‘These two notices do not sufficiently state or describe the offences in general terms,’ Mr Kell said.

Justice Dina Yehia later ruled the ‘purported penalty notices’ were invalid and ordered the fines issued to Brenden Beame and Teal Els be repaid.

Ms Els was fined $3,000 for unlawfully participating in an outdoor public gathering and Mr Beame was fined $1,000 for failing to comply with a Covid direction.

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A $1,000 fine issued to a third claimant, Rohan Pank, had already been repaid.

Kate Richardson SC, for the claimants, had said there were 32,648 fines – totalling almost $33million – issued for the same reason as that given to Mr Beame.

She asked Justice Yehia to publish detailed reasons for the fines being declared invalid to make it ‘absolutely plain’ why they were withdrawn.

‘This is a case that has ramifications beyond Ms Els and Mr Beame,’ Ms Richardson said.

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Justice Yehia will hand down a judgment early next year when the full implications of the case for all Covid fines will become clearer.

Source material can be found at this site.

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