Most COVID fines to be dropped

The Age is reporting the news – unsurprising and welcome … yet still problematic.

Police officers who issued fines for breaches of COVID-19 restrictions have been instructed to hand out cautions for unpaid infringements rather than proceed with charges in a move that the Police Association warns could undermine future enforcement of public health orders.

More than 19,000 penalty notices were issued for breaches of chief health officer orders by October last year. The new direction would mean all but the most egregious offenders will avoid paying.

Some might suggest that wise heads and common sense prevailed.

Here is Jeremy Gans’ take (he is a professor of law at Melbourne Uni and well worth following on Twitter).

So the very hard line crack down was ‘enforcement theatre’.

Hmmmmmmm – it seems to me that to deploy violence to enforce cooperation when the law is murky and the offences trivial is a form of corruption. Let’s be fair here – not the men and women on the beat – the men and women who gave the orders in  full knowledge that unlawful violence was being deployed against a civilian population.

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62 Responses to Most COVID fines to be dropped

  1. Rusty of Qld says:

    There’s only one of two possible reasons, were run by idiots or Despots whom love the power to crush people through their jackboot enforcement.

  2. Woolfe says:

    Beat cops need not have been so brutish. They seemed keen to implement their authority. Pyjama lady comes to mind. I was just following orders, where have we heard that before.

    If everyone who copped a fine went to court the system would collapse.

  3. thefrollickingmole says:

    So in effect much “murkiness” that they dont want the majority of these things to go to court.

    Can you say “unlawfully detained”?

  4. Damon says:

    The optics were obviously awful, and the astronomical fines, ludicrous.

  5. Adam D says:

    Are they refunding anyone who has already paid the fine? Cos now those people will be rightly pissed.

  6. Mother Lode says:

    I suppose the fines were not really what they were after. It was the intimidation of the populace.

    Below a certain intellectual threshold, where a politician is out if their depth and does not understand the people they presume to govern and they are unable to anticipate the way people respond, they must try to control everyone and everything at every moment in every place. And the more they do so the more they need to.

    A competent leader can be more hands free.

  7. Roger says:

    Let’s be fair here – not the men and women on the beat – the men and women who gave the orders in full knowledge that unlawful violence was being deployed against a civilian population.

    Er…no.

    The enthusiasm with which members of VicPol went about terrorising members of the public is of great concern.

    VicPol is in need of root and branch reform. Of course, you won’t see that under Labor.

  8. Perfidious Albino says:

    +1 Woolfe. What we saw and in some cases experienced reflects very poorly on the judgement of a good many (not all) cops on the beat. Of course, the brass and police union have expressed dismay at the message dropping enforcement of these penalties sends to the community and what a ‘thankless task’ it was – perhaps they should have thought of that before they started brutalising people.

  9. Snoopy says:

    The enthusiasm with which members of VicPol went about terrorising members of the public is of great concern.

    Gotta live up to the para-military gear.

  10. billie says:

    did you see in the age, the police union rep, Police Association Victoria secretary Wayne Gatt, is furious

    “If offenders form a view from this experience that penalties will be readily converted to cautions or diversions as a matter of course, then that sends a concerning message. We want to encourage wilful compliance and not encourage civil disobedience.”

    so Wayne, then what was the story years ago with the G20 protesters who used unbelievable violence on the streets and against police and yet police decided to pay them out rather than go to court .. as “it would cost less”

    what about all the other activists and protestors who are non-stop let off fines and crimes with usually nothing at all?

    the girl who misused a computer log on to rat out PM Tony Abbott’s daughter’s uni grant, was let off and of course got a job immediately with The Greens, (figures, since she shares the same values)

    “We want to encourage wilful compliance”, yes, when it suits you .. that’s not policing, it’s just selective bullying

    it comes down to the definition of “offender”, which in Victoria is clearly a fluid term

    pffft .. I wonder if they kid themselves the community still respects them. No Wayne, we’re wary and will nod when told to, but we don’t trust you or respect you .. like the East Germans did of the Stazi

  11. Bruce of Newcastle says:

    ALP looking after its own.
    Most of those who refused to pay would be lefties.
    Righties are into law and order, many with Christian ethos.

  12. PK says:

    Where does all this leave the, presumably honest and law abiding, citizens who have stumped up and paid the fines? Many of these people would have endured deprivation in paying up. Where do the people stand who have fought the fines in court and paid legal costs? This is a legal quagmire.

  13. H B Bear says:

    The inevitable consequence of using the criminal justice system for a purpose it was never designed – namely social control. If you continue to “criminalise” human behaviour eventually ordinary people just say enough.

    A fundamental violation of good government by Chairman Dan and his fellow Socialists.

    Not that this will make any difference at the next election.

  14. Judge Dredd says:

    Now that it’s been proven that the people at large will comply to stupid rules, this then makes it easier to implement even more stupid rules.
    The only way to prevent it is by the people not complying.

  15. H B Bear says:

    How many other laws exist only for the announcement on the 6pm News?

  16. H B Bear says:

    What happens the next time they try this?

  17. duncanm says:

    Let’s be fair here – not the men and women on the beat

    nope. They don’t get off.

    First step should have always been “if you don’t comply, I will fine you”
    Second step “here’s your fine”

  18. duncanm says:

    billie
    #3728321, posted on January 18, 2021 at 10:24 am
    did you see in the age, the police union rep, Police Association Victoria secretary Wayne Gatt, is furious

    “If offenders form a view from this experience that penalties will be readily converted to cautions or diversions as a matter of course, then that sends a concerning message. We want to encourage wilful compliance and not encourage civil disobedience.”

    strange – I don’t hear that sort of wailing when certain groups get off because ‘social reasons’.

  19. Up The Workers! says:

    Will Deadly Dan’s monocular uniformed Labor thugs be also “withdrawing” the bashings, the choke-holds, the pepper-sprayings, the head-kickings, the “George Floydings”, the money-gougings, the arrests of peaceful housewives and aged pensioners, the head-stompings and the deliberate bouncing of mentally ill people off the bonnets of fast-moving Poilce cars driven by morbidly obese “Batshit Crazy” fully-armed Labor thugs in uniform?

    When will the refunds start to all those who have been conned into paying Labor’s extortionate money-gouging fines?

    A.L.P. – Always Looting the Poor!

  20. Roger says:

    Of course, the brass and police union have expressed dismay at the message dropping enforcement of these penalties sends to the community and what a ‘thankless task’ it was – perhaps they should have thought of that before they started brutalising people.

    Compare and contrast Brisbane during its recent lockdown, where police exercised considerable discretion in the issuing of fines, presumably on instruction from the Commissioner.

  21. Roger says:

    We want to encourage wilful compliance…

    It’s not enough to obey Big Brother; you must learn to love him!

  22. a reader says:

    VicPol should be disbanded. Not sure whether to invite NSW Police or the AFP in to do the job instead but either would be a significantly better choice.

  23. Leigh Lowe says:

    Let’s be fair here – not the men and women on the beat – the men and women who gave the orders in  full knowledge that unlawful violence was being deployed against a civilian population.

    Why not?
    A good number of them showed a level of enthusiasm which was sadly missing when ‘tall yoofs in singlets’ were beseiging innocent residents of outer suburbs.

  24. Dinky says:

    So the very hard line crack down was ‘enforcement theatre’.

    That’s what it was meant to be. Just like the arrest of the Ballarat mum it was to let the great unwashed know what will happen if you don’t obey.

  25. Dinky says:

    ALP looking after its own.
    Most of those who refused to pay would be lefties.
    Righties are into law and order, many with Christian ethos.

    It was the same mindset that allowed the BLM protest to go ahead unmolested.

  26. Kieran C says:

    One of the things that bemused me about VicPol’s eagerness to enforce the Andrews/Sutton rules is that most of the pro-lockdown chattering classes regard Police with absolute contempt. VicPol has been alienating the segments of society that actually used to support them.

  27. Terry says:

    ‘not the men and women on the beat…’

    Yes, the men and women on the beat.

    The tyranny of ‘the men and women who gave the orders’ is entirely dependent on the complicity of those who were “just following orders” (rather too enthusiastically to be absolved of shameful guilt).

  28. Chris M says:

    not the men and women on the beat

    If they had an ounce of integrity they would not carry out the illegitimate instructions. These thugs are every bit as guilty as the Nazi guards, and of the same mindset.

    So the suckers that paid will get a refund now? What about the many that got bashed, compensation time.

  29. Twostix says:

    VicPol is in need of root and branch reform. Of course, you won’t see that under Labor.

    I think you’ll find this is the reformed modern tolerant diverse police “service”.

  30. notafan says:

    Agree Bear.

    And also agree many covidpolice relished dishing out heavy fines, like the lady police who fined the L plater and her mum.

  31. Walter Plinge says:

    If you were a sucker and paid do you get a refund? There’s going to be plenty of angry individuals is there is no refund.

  32. notafan says:

    The number of times police rolled around my local park, I won’t forget the intimidation.

  33. Roger says:

    I think you’ll find this is the reformed modern tolerant diverse police “service”.

    It’s virtually a para-military force; the very antithesis of what modern policing should be.

  34. Professor Fred Lenin says:

    The socialists Hitler and Stalin could have carried out the mass extermination of millions withou the complicity of the people who carried out their foul orders . A total refusal to obey orders to murder people woukd have left the socialist murder minded leaders helpless .
    To obey any opressive orders makes you as guilty as the person who gave the order ,and just a deserving of the punishment meted out .
    After the second world war I would have hunted down every person involved in the genocide , given them a fair trial , found them guilty and hanged them ,every dammned one of them ,no matter how low in rank ,pour encourager les autres ,for future example ,and set a legal precedent .

  35. pbw says:

    not the men and women on the beat

    About two thirds of the comments take issue, quite rightly, with this. billie was first to elaborate on

    the Police Association warns could undermine future enforcement of public health orders.

    Wasn’t it said regarding the use of private security for quarantine that what the police wanted, the police got. That doesn’t just apply to the Chief Commissioner. The union is in this up to its shady eyeballs. If the troops don’t like it, they can put up alternative candidates.

    Haven’t there been more enquiries and commissions into VicPol than any other state’s police force?

    And, yes, what about refunds, including full costs for anyone who went to court?

  36. Alex Davidson says:

    Hopefully this will send a message to NSW citizens who are threatened with fines and violence for asserting their right to freedom and refusing to follow similarly ludicrous orders.

  37. theleftfootkick says:

    This is what happens when the separation of powers between government and police force is totally ignored; the Andrews Labor Government of Victoria loves to play this game.

  38. Walter Plinge says:

    Is there an election in the air?

  39. pbw says:

    Walter,

    In any case, the internal polling must be looking pretty bad.

  40. Paul says:

    Unlawful violence by dictator Dans jackboot policing.
    Of course he couldn’t afford anyone testing this in court. It would prove him to be a dictator.

  41. Jo says:

    H B Bear
    #3728334, posted on January 18, 2021 at 10:32 am
    What happens the next time they try this?

    This is great news for the next lockdown! Try it Dear Dan … I personally can not wait to see what we will do next.

  42. Elizabeth (Lizzie) Beare says:

    I hope Zoe pressed on regardless with a very strong case for harm caused by wrongful arrest. Perhpaskeeping such claims out of court is behind all of this. Class action possible now?

  43. egg_ says:

    Per yours truly, refuse to pay any fines!

  44. H B Bear says:

    ‘not the men and women on the beat…’

    The beaters you mean? I agree you don’t want police second guessing the laws they enforce – once they are proclaimed that is all you need to know. VicPlod, particularly the hierarchy, are answerable for how they are enforced.

  45. Barry says:

    The world was conned by a coordinated faux crisis, the sole purpose of which was to prevent the reelection of Trump.

    As several here predicted, everything is starting to open up again, now that Trump has been defeated.

    Reversal of confected panic, tacit admission that the WuFlu is not dangerous, enforcement may have been a bit overzealous, nothing to see here anymore – move along now.

  46. Mother Lode says:

    Well, Dan was able to re-direct the fears of the easily panicked public by scapegoating the rest of the public.

    “You are worried? You don’t like being penned up in your own house? Not sure if you will have a job when this is over?

    “Well, we can tell you whose fault it is like this: That woman sitting on a park bench is one. You can almost see her skin heaving and glistening with virus. And that elderly man at the bus stop without a mask. He doesn’t care if you or your children die. And look at him. Looks like he might not have used anti-bacterial soap. What kind of a monster…

    “Now that numbers are looking better, let us forget about the fines. They were only ever for your benefit. Now say thank you that you are being given some of your rights back. Don’t get too attached though. There are plenty more emergencies.”

  47. Entropy says:

    Elizabeth (Lizzie) Beare
    #3728470, posted on January 18, 2021 at 12:44 pm
    I hope Zoe pressed on regardless with a very strong case for harm caused by wrongful arrest. Perhpaskeeping such claims out of court is behind all of this. Class action possible now?

    I think her hearing is not until Thursday (21st?). Interesting timing.

  48. Spurgeon Monkfish III says:

    If you were a sucker and paid do you get a refund? There’s going to be plenty of angry individuals is there if no refund.

    It’s a very good point. Those that would have refused to pay the fines are more likely to be, to put it delicately, “people of a certain socio-economic status”, from whom the state can’t really enforce payment beyond a certain point.

    I don’t know (or care) what the situation is in Disasterstan, but here in NSW if you receive a fine and refuse to pay (and don’t contest it), the state will simply cancel your license if you have one, increasing your chances of running up many more severe fines – and this applies to fines that may have been incurred for non traffic related matters.

    Similar to the time the ATO told me that if I didn’t pay a particular tax debt (which the useless parasitic idiots had incorrectly determined) they’d simply remove the amount from my bank account on a certain date.

    The bat flu fines in Disasterstan represented selective harassment by the state of largely law abiding citizens and another obvious example of the increasing levels of anarcho-tyranny we are subjected to.

    People who’ve paid any of those fines should have them refunded as a matter of course. The chances of this happening I’d wager are almost non-existent.

  49. 132andBush says:

    Let’s be fair here – not the men and women on the beat –

    Lets be fair here – a significant percentage of the men and women on the beat seemed only too glad to enforce this bullshit.

  50. feelthebern says:

    Hopefully the nanna on the park bench who had her phone snatched by that fat fascist prick doesn’t get her fine thrown out.
    & hopefully she takes it to court.
    & hopefully the fat fuck is outed.

  51. feelthebern says:

    This is all about protecting VicPol from scrutiny of their actions.
    Watching body cam footage of them abusing nan & pop (times 100) would be too much for the delicate petals in VicPol.

  52. 132andBush says:

    notafan
    #3728393, posted on January 18, 2021 at 11:25 am

    Agree Bear.

    And also agree many covidpolice relished dishing out heavy fines, like the lady police who fined the L plater and her mum.

    I got to see comments re that incident from a highway patrol cop, (a friend was/is going out with one).
    He would’ve done the same thing.
    No discretion.
    No empathy.
    Borderline psychopath.

  53. Mater says:

    As Solzhenitsyn said:

    Western society has given itself the organization best suited to its purposes based, I would say, one the letter of the law. The limits of human rights and righteousness are determined by a system of laws; such limits are very broad. People in the West have acquired considerable skill in interpreting and manipulating law. Any conflict is solved according to the letter of the law and this is considered to be the supreme solution. If one is right from a legal point of view, nothing more is required. Nobody will mention that one could still not be entirely right, and urge self-restraint, a willingness to renounce such legal rights, sacrifice and selfless risk. It would sound simply absurd. One almost never sees voluntary self-restraint. Everybody operates at the extreme limit of those legal frames.

    I have spent all my life under a Communist regime and I will tell you that a society without any objective legal scale is a terrible one indeed. But a society with no other scale than the legal one is not quite worthy of man either.

  54. K2 says:

    I was in a Woolworths in country Victoria yesterday.

    There was a PA announcement every five minutes or so stating the the “Victorian government advises that mask wearing inside supermarkets is mandatory, and that Woolworths staff are wearing masks for our safety, and we ask that you do too.”

    There is now law compelling you to wear a mask.

  55. FelixKruell says:

    So the people who did the ‘right’ thing, in paying fines that were issued to them, lose out? Those that refused to pay, now have them waived?

    The incentives seem all wrong…

  56. H B Bear says:

    Until the election and re-election of Chairman Dan Australia and its States have not had to deal with a truly malevolent government of which Solzhenitsyn was all too familiar. Even Gillard at her worst did not come close. As soon as those who makeand enforce the law are prepared to use laws against the legitimate freedoms of their own people you are beyond the Rule of Law as anyone of us would know it. Suddenly it all gets very murky.

  57. MACK says:

    Direct from the Putin and Xi playbook – frighten the hell out of people with pictures of disaster overseas and then hit them with fines, arrests in pyjamas, and smashing car windows. Then you can get them to do anything. Follow-up doesn’t matter.

  58. Perfidious Albino says:

    Hopefully VicPol have learnt a valuable lesson here – if they want to get into bed with the politicians, they also leave themselves at the mercy of political priorities and whims. Enjoy the fleas.

  59. billie says:

    the police have found that “rules” cannot be enforced, only laws

    and they don’t like it

    isn’t that like, legal 101?

    oh my

    ha ha ha

  60. H B Bear says:

    VicPlod have learnt nothing from what – the last two or three decades?

    They are part of the problem.

  61. Barry says:

    Sorry, fake news. Fines are back on. Apparently no-one thought to ask Dan.

    Oops

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