Make my day: cop from hell's great barrier grief

Paul Tatnell
October 7, 2010 - 1:15PM

If you think being fined for a friendly toot on your car horn is bizarrely zealous policing, it's nothing compared with what one young Sydneysider copped.

And if it had happened 24 hours later - when double demerit points applied - it could have cost the 23-year-old P-plater even more than the $300 fine and three demerits.

So what was her heinous driving crime?

Taking her seat belt off for a few seconds because she couldn't reach the car park ticket machine through the car window.

With an officer in a police patrol car watching, what was going to be a free park cost her a whopping $300 and three demerit points.

NSW Police have yet to comment on their application of the law in this case, but the young woman's mother, from Lilyfield, is not impressed.

Lyndal Gabriel said her daughter had just completed a mail run for her employer last Thursday and was about to leave the car park.

But what happened next left her in tears after she leaned through her car window to press the button for a ticket to raise the boom gate.

"She put the ticket in and proceeded and then there was a marked police car behind her which pulled her over," Mrs Gabriel said.

"They fined her $300 and three points, they kept her for about 30 minutes on site and she does have a clean record."

The "stern" officer, who was "a bit grumpy" told her daughter she should have turned off the ignition before getting out of her car.

"They said she broke the law because she should have turned the car off, taken the keys out of the ignition, got out of the car, put the ticket into the machine, then buckled up and started the car and then proceeded," she said.

"I guess we will have to cop it but I think it has all just gone mad, really."

Mrs Gabriel said her daughter was genuinely unaware she had broken the law.

But then again, as Mrs Gabriel points out, so are most drivers.

"To me the fine and points don't match the infringement," she said.

"It just needs to be out there that this is the law and that this is happening."

Mrs Gabriel said her daughter had a clean driving history and that her car, a 10-year-old Nissan Pulsar, would not immediately attract the attention of police.

She said her daughter was neither rude nor argumentative to the officer who issued the fine.

"My daughter just said he might have been having a bad day. Who knows, but in all honesty she is a bit embarrassed about it all," she said.

At least there's a little good news for the unlucky P-plater.

Mrs Gabriel hinted "mum and dad might have to help out" when it comes to paying the fine.




Commentary by the OttawaMensCentre

Absolute Power Corrupts absolutely and when the Government has revenue to raise, inappropriate pressures appear to motivate Police Officers into increasingly more desperate efforts to write more tickets. An officer in a marked car with crime duties is far more likely to be reasonable than an unmarked car "on traffic". There is a very different ratio of "warnings" given.

This ticket is one that MUST GO TO COURT and hopefully she can have her day to embarrass the officer. I'd predict that this is one day that this particular officer will not attend. He was wrong on many counts and is simply unsuitable to be a police officer.