Thursday, 30 August 2012

Victorian Toll & Anor v Taha and Anor; State of Victoria v Brookes & Anor (Court of Appeal) - August 2012

 This case was an appeal from a Supreme Court decision Taha v Magistrates' Court (Supreme Court) June 2011, which held that the Magistrates' Court was required to make enquiries about the circumstances of the offender, including any intellectual disability, before making an imprisonment order against an individual for unpaid fines under the Infringements Act 2006.

The Court of Appeal decision upheld the Supreme Court's ruling that a Magistrate is required to make enquiries as to whether individuals before them have a disability or other special circumstances.

The Commission intervened in the Supreme Court and Court of Appeal cases to make submissions on the interpretation of the Infringements Act 2006 compatibly with the human rights to equality, liberty and a fair hearing. The Commission argued that the obligation in section 32 of the Charter to interpret laws compatibly with human rights, meant that the Infringements Act must be interpreted as requiring a Magistrate to consider the individual circumstances of an individual and determine whether alternatives to imprisonment were available and appropriate.

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