Beth takes hard line on mobile phone fine
A PAIR of tight blue jeans and her mobile phone records will be Beth Neal's evidence if she is forced to go to court to prove her innocence.
Ms Neal was fined by police for driving while talking on her mobile phone last Wednesday.
However, the Goolmangar woman claims to have been scratching her neck at the time of the alleged offence and not talking on her phone.
Ms Neal said she could not have committed the offence because it would have been impossible for her to get her phone out of the back pocket of the pair of 'tight' jeans she was wearing while seated in her car.
Ms Neal, who is a screen printer, was on her way back to work after dropping her daughter, Karlee, at Richmond River High after last week's teacher stop-work meeting when she saw police lights flashing in her rear view mirror.
Ms Neal had just turned into Phyllis Street, South Lismore, and was less than 15 metres from where she parks her car, when police pulled her over.
“I sat in the car wondering why I had been pulled up,” Ms Neal said. “I thought maybe a brake light was out or something like that.”
When the police officer approached, Ms Neal asked him what she had done wrong.
“He said I was talking on a mobile phone,” she said.
Ms Neal said she told the police officer she had not been using the phone. She then got out of the car to show him that her mobile phone was still in her back pocket.
“He just would not listen to reason,” she said.
“He just handed me a fine for $243 and said 'have a nice day'.”
Ms Neal said she felt very upset and angry and went to Lismore police station to complain about the fine. She was advised to write a letter to the Infringement Processing Bureau.
Ms Neal said it was wrong that she had to prove she was innocent.
“I have to write a letter and get my phone records to prove I am innocent,” she said. “I am guilty until proven innocent.”
Ms Neal, who stands to lose three demerit points, said she was prepared to go all the way to clear her name.
“It could cost me a lot of money if I have to go to court to prove my innocence. I will have to have time off work and pay for a solicitor,” she said.
“Why aren't the police out there catching the real criminals?”