A pensioner who was fined for using a mobile phone while driving claims he’s never even used or owned one.
Frank Singh, 77, told A Current Affair he was gobsmacked when he received a $362 from Revenue New South Wales that accused him of the traffic offence.
“It looks like I’m guilty on it, but I’m not. I don’t own one. I don’t use one,” Frank told the program in reference to images taken by a mobile phone detection camera on the Pacific Motorway which show him holding something in his left hand.
“I thought what in the boody hell is this all about? I’ve never owned a mobile phone. I’ve never used a mobile phone. I thought ‘what a load of sh*t”.
According to Frank, he doesn’t recall what he was holding in the pictures provided as evidence by Revenue NSW but he insists it’s not a phone.
“I think it could be my wallet,” he said.
Friend Kishori Breeze took on Frank’s case because, ironically, he needed a mobile number and email to lodge an appeal.
“I thought it would be quite an easy process to get it dropped,” Breeze said.
“You’ve got a fine for using a mobile phone while driving. You don’t have a mobile phone.
“Let’s just nip down to the office and get this fixed.”
But to their astonishment, the review was rejected.
“He received a letter to say, yeah, we understand that you say that you don’t have a phone, but please go ahead and pay the fine anyway,” Breeze said.
“When Frank tried to say, ‘I don’t have a mobile phone and I’ve never’ … (the Byron Bay Magistrate) butt in and she said, ‘You do own a mobile phone’.”
Lawyer Richard Mitry said the typical attitude of innocence until proven guilty wasn’t always applied when it comes to traffic offences.
“It’s actually the other way around with most traffic offences,” Mitry said.
“So in this case, you’ve assumed that you’ve done the wrong thing based on the fact that a camera snapped you, and the camera thought you were doing the wrong thing.”
Frank’s fine was later cancelled without explanation and he is no longer required to appear in court, according to ACA.