The Magistrate’s Court has thrown up the case of one Brett French who wandered into licence suspension via loaning out his car and moving without telling the RTA where he was going.
He also took a stab at invalidating the entire suspension process by Chief Magistrate Walker decided to interpret the law otherwise (while noting it’s the usual godawful mess we expect in the ACT).
But they nub of it all came down to this:
The Defendant relocated some four or so months before the date the offence occurred. He failed to advise the RTA of his change of address or make any effort to access mail being sent to his former address. Throughout this time, the Defendant had his car on loan to another person. A person having the privilege of a licence to drive is required by law to notify the RTA of any change in their address. This ensures the RTA can communicate with them about matters pertinent to their licence and any vehicle registered to them. Having failed to comply with this requirement, a driver cannot reasonably rely on the effect of their own breach of law to render reasonable their mistaken belief that they continued to be licensed, unless there were very good reasons for the failure to comply. The Defendant provided no explanation for his failure to notify the RTA of his change of address. Even on the balance of probabilities, the Defendant has failed to establish the objective element of the defence of honest and reasonable mistake of fact.
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