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Monday, 08 April 2013 10:43

Director of Public Transport v XFJ (Supreme Court) - Sep 2009

This was an appeal by the Director of Public Transport against a VCAT decision to grant XFJ taxi driver accreditation.

The Director had refused XFJ taxi driver accreditation because XFJ had killed his wife in 1990. In 1992 XFJ was acquitted of his wife's murder on the grounds of insanity and treated in a psychiatric facility until 1998, following which he lived in the community, undertaken voluntary and paid work, and cared for his children.

The appeal involved questions about the interpretation of a statutory provision in accordance with the Charter – namely, how section 169(1)(b)(ii) of the Transport Act 1983 and the expression "suitable in other respects to provide the service" should be interpreted in light of the Charter, particularly the right to equality.

The Commission made submissions on the effect of the interpretive obligation in section 32 on the relevant provisions of the Transport Act 1983. The Commission argued that XFJ's equality rights would be unreasonably limited if the Court accepted the Director's arguments as to what constitutes a relevant consideration for the purposes of eligibility to drive a taxi.

The Supreme Court dismissed the appeal and affirmed XFJ's suitability for accreditation. The case was not decided on Charter grounds but Justice Ross did comment on the Charter and the Commission's submissions in obiter.

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