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'An ice user got less': Man slams 'unAustralian' parking fine

IRATE: John Kelly received a parking fine for parking on the verge outside his home. He disputed the charge in court and lost.
IRATE: John Kelly received a parking fine for parking on the verge outside his home. He disputed the charge in court and lost. John McCutcheon

A SELF-employed Coast man has slammed his parking fine saga as "unAustralian".

Warana resident John Kelly copped a $91 fine on May 4 for parking on the nature strip in front of his Palkana Dr home back in May.

He said he'd backed his Jeep out and parked it on the grass while he got his other vehicle out of the driveway.

When he went to move the Jeep back in he couldn't, as the ignition switch had failed.

He has receipts for the replacement switch which he bought on April 21, but said the Sunshine Coast Council would not accept it as a legitimate excuse, telling him he could've pushed the vehicle off the verge.

Mr Kelly said his steering had locked as a result of the ignition failure, which meant he couldn't move his car.

He said the replacement part had taken "a while to come" and he'd not had a chance after work in the days before the fine to replace the ignition switch, but he had been planning to repair the vehicle.

A council spokesman said a parking infringement can be withdrawn "in the case of a vehicle malfunction, however the incident must be of an emergency, short-term nature only and where parking on the nature strip was the only option available".

"If it is clear the nature strip is not being used as an emergency option, and other alternatives are available, an infringement notice will be issued.

"Parking on nature strips can make the area unsafe for the public, especially if pedestrians are forced onto the road surface."

 

IRATE: John Kelly received a parking fine for parking on the verge outside his home. He disputed the charge in court and lost.
IRATE: John Kelly received a parking fine for parking on the verge outside his home. He disputed the charge in court and lost. John McCutcheon

The Sunshine Coast Council's website states parking infringement notices can also be withdrawn in the event of a medical emergency.

Mr Kelly said he was told by council staff to either pay the fine or take it to court.

He chose the latter, opting to fight the law - frustrated that only some in his street had been fined for parking on the verge that day - but the law won.

"That was a joke going to court," Mr Kelly said.

He appeared in Caloundra Magistrates Court about three weeks ago, taking a day off work as a self-employed truck driver to try and have his fine waived.

Mr Kelly said in the end he was forced to plead guilty, unable to take further days off work in future to fight the case and unable to afford increased legal costs.

He said it "did not matter" what he told the magistrate, as he tried to argue his case, questioning why only some people in his street were fined and not others parked on the verge.

"It's just not bloody right," he said.

"This is so wrong. There's no consistency."

He said a young woman appeared before him in court that day, and was given a $400 fine and two-month licence suspension for being caught driving with traces of ice in her system.

Mr Kelly said that made the fact he had now been fined more than $550 an even more bitter pill to swallow.

"I just think it's unreasonable," he said.

"I normally park it inside (the driveway)."

He said he was fined $256 in costs for the council's legal representative, as well as $99 in court costs, $91 for the original fine, plus a $118 offender's levy.

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