Friday, December 11, 2015

Sentenced though not custodially ... phew

(My heartbeat before sentencing!!!)

And so it came to pass that a sentence was handed out on Monday by an Adelaide Court and was simultaneously received by a Broken Hill Court via video-link.

Plugged in, I sat by myself in the Broken Hill courtroom until the Adelaide magistrate appeared on my courtroom television.

After a brief recap from her and the police prosecutor, I was then given a chance to make submissions regarding my take on things. So organising my thoughts under what I thought were relevant headings, I basically said the following:

Climate Change
I can no longer continue to observe the havoc that my capitalist lifestyle is causing without trying to do something to mitigate it. The catastrophic impacts of climate change are felt in many places around the world ... just look at Kirabati and Tuvalu ... and even the flooding in the north of England has been hailed as a consequence of climate change. In addition we also know that Greenland's ice will disappear sooner than later - it has been reported in the last couple of days that scientific predictions regarding the ice loss have been grossly underestimated. Even here in Broken Hill the impact of climate change is being acutely felt ... the town water supply is running out.

World's Children
I have responsibilities to my children, and all of our children, and our children's children too - I cannot just sit by and pass the burden of climate change onto them.

COP21 (Paris)
Whilst I love this country, there is no denying that Australia is an outlier in terms of transitioning to green transport and our responsibilities to the environmnent. As you would be aware, this week global leaders are in Paris attempting to agree to workable solutions for mitigating the devastating impacts of climate change. But already we in Australia have been let down by our representatives. Take Malcolm Turnbull, he completely lacked the courage to sign onto a Kiwi initiative with regards to guaging our carbon footprint, deforestation and materials sold to other nations and what is actually our true total ... and all because of a Faustian bargain the Liberals have with the Nationals and farmers and miners to maintain outdated fuel subsidies.

Victimless Crime
My crime is a victimless one. The benefit/cost analysis suggests that cycling is 20-30 times more beneficial to society than harmful. So whilst I may have been found guilty of breaking the letter of the law, I was not causing any personal or social harm, and therefore perhaps I should not be punished. These are my submissions on sentencing ... thank you.
So after me wrapping up my bit, the magistrate reciprocated with thanks, had a brief little chin-wag with the prosecutor, and then launched into the business of 'fitting' the 'punishment into the crime,' or the 'crime into the punishment.' At one point she mentioned the possibility of imposing a penalty without recording a conviction as set out in s16 of the Crimimal Law (Sentencing) Act 1988 (South Australia) but she was not completely satisfied that I was not likely to commit the offence again. She asked me my thoughts on the subject, and I said that it would be less than honest to say I would not ride a bicycle again without a helmet in Adelaide, and that there was every chance that I would come back to Adelaide and join in with another bicycle helmet protest ride no doubt with a police escort again just like before.

She thanked me for my frankness, formally declined to grant me the 'legislated leniency' on the basis of my potential recidivism, and got on with dishing up the fines and costs for me to fix up in the next 28 days:

$$$ Helmet fine
$$$ Victim compo
$$$ prosecution costs
$$$ court costs =

GRAND TOTAL ... $560.00

So there we have it ... guilty as charged, with criminal conviction and punished accordingly.

So much for encouraging 'green transport' ... so much for innovation ... so much for legislative perspective ... but hey, this is Australia



  1. I'm very suppoerive Sue, thank you for your ongoing efforts.
    However I don't think you actually have a "criminal" conviction for a traffic matter, unless they are completely different in SA.
    Best wishes.

  2. It is disgusting, though. People should be encouraged to cycle.

    The other day, I was cycling IN A CYCLE LANE and a taxi driver opened his door in my face (this is called "dooring" and recently killed a young man very close to where the taxi driver doored me). Fortunately I wasn't going fast, have good reflexes for an old git and was able to swerve a bit out of the way without a truck next to me.

    The fine for this offence, which is often fatal to cyclists, was only $35Cdn plus some kind of small fee. It is being increased by a great deal, but I don't believe the law has come into effect yet. The driver who doored the young man who was cycling home from work, and the other driver(s) who ran him over as he lay in the street, got NO fine or criminal charges. I don't understand that, as even as a cyclist I'm liable if I injure a pedestrian.

    Sue, on another subject dear to your heart, the inquiry on Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women is getting underway very soon up here. A world away but pretty much the same sad story.

  3. I love how they ask you for your opinions on the matter and then completely ignore them. Maybe that helps to bump up the 'court costs'. As for 'victim compensation', did they put a number to that? I wonder who the victims are, besides those of us who have to put up with these ridiculous laws.

    Keep riding free!

  4. I would've have expected much more (like 2k-ish), so perhaps not so bad. But "Victim compo", uh... what's that? You're the victim, right? Do you get to compensate yourself? :)