More than 33,000 Covid fines cancelled after court decision

covid fines

Revenue NSW has confirmed it will withdraw 33,121 Covid-related infringements after a landmark Supreme Court ruling in Sydney yesterday.

The fines were revoked after government lawyers conceded that two test cases brought by the Redfern Legal Centre did not provide sufficient detail about the offence, a breach of the Fines Act.

A total of 62,128 Covd-related infringements were issued in the state throughout the pandemic.

“Where fines are withdrawn, all sanctions, including drivers licence restrictions or garnishee order activity will be stopped,” said a written statement from Revenue NSW.

“Where a fine has been withdrawn and a customer has made a payment — either in part or in full — Revenue NSW will make contact to arrange a refund or credit the payment towards other outstanding debts.”

The agency also noted it did “not mean the offences were not committed” and “the remaining 29,017 fines will still be required to be paid if not already resolved”.

Scott Johnston from Revenue NSW said his decision was made in the interest of being “consistent and equitable”, and refunding the close to $10 million that has already being paid, will start immediately.

“We’ll be working through a process to contact everyone who’s either made payments to discuss getting a refund as quickly as possible,” Johnston said.

“Or to those that haven’t resolved those fines, there’ll be nothing further for them to do, but we’ll advise them as such.”

ABC News reports that about one third of people have already settled their fines, with others making part-payments while about 8000 fines are overdue.

“We’ve got everyone’s’ details who’s paid, we’ll have to write to everyone to get their details so we can return the money to the right bank account … we’ll also have a hotline.

“We’re ready to answer the calls that come, customer service is important to us and doing a good and fair job.”

Redfern Legal Centre’s acting principal solicitor Samantha Lee said the decisions has the potential to invalidate all Covid-19 fines that were issued during the 2020 and 2021 lockdown.

Justice Yehia is expected to make a formal judgement in early 2023.

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