False plates to avoid rusting
WYRALLAH tradie Travis Crisp had his work ute forfeited to the Crown after Lismore police seized the Mitsubishi Triton in August last year.
Police made the application to Lismore Local Court for the Mitsubishi duel-cab ute (which police valued at $10,000) be forfeited because it had continued to be used despite being unregistered since January 24, 2008.
Crisp, 26, opposed the application because he needed to have the Triton to pursue work opportunities.
In documents before magistrate Nicholas Reimer, under the Road Transport (Vehicle Registration Act 1997), a vehicle can’t be forfeited if the owner satisfies the court there has been no intent to evade registration.
Evidence from senior constable Rodney Ferris stated he first stopped Crisp just after 4pm on December 31, 2008 driving the Triton which was unregistered and uninsured.
Crisp was also unlicensed at the time. Police removed the number plates from the ute.
Sen Const Ferris said early last year police monitored the Triton parked in different positions outside the house where Crisp was then living which indicated it was being driven. It also had an old set of NSW number plates attached.
“I did a check on the plates and realised they were registered to an early model Holden sedan with an expired registration,” the officer stated.
On August 6 last year Sen Const Ferris stopped Crisp again driving the same Triton but this time with Queensland number plates. Crisp immediately admitted it was not registered and the plates did not belong to the vehicle.
Sen Const Ferris stated officers seized the Triton because police believed he was deliberately avoiding registration.
Defence lawyer Ian Lord said his client was a man who wanted to work hard in his trade but needed transport to get to where the work was and that had been to his detriment.
Mr Lord said if the Triton was returned to his client he would also face a police claim of more than $2000 for storage fees. Argument was also given that Crisp removed the proper plates to prevent them from rusting.
“There is no doubt in my mind there was a blatant use of the vehicle with illegal plates intended to cover over that it was being used unregistered and uninsured,” Mr Reimer said.
“To say the number plates were not being put on to stop the plates rusting is ridiculous. I’ve been driving 50 years and I’ve never seen a rusted number plate.”
Mr Reimer ordered the Triton be forfeited to the Crown.