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Motor Vehicle Law Qld Noticeboard – August 2017 – Driving on an interstate licence

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The Motor Vehicle Law Qld Noticeboard is your definitive resource for both civil and criminal aspects of motor vehicle law news as it occurs. Frequently updated by respected barristers Simon Cilento and Andrew West, the Noticeboard keeps you informed of the latest key legislative and case developments relating to Queensland motor vehicle law. For more comprehensive information and analysis into these and other matters, Thomson Reuters’ subscription service, Motor Vehicle Law Qld, the complete guide dedicated to motor vehicle law in Queensland, is available online, in looseleaf or on ProView eSub.

Driving on an interstate licence

Austin v Commissioner of Police [2017] QDC 159 – 15 June 2017 District Court of Queensland Deveraux SC DCJ

Facts: A was convicted of driving without a licence contrary to s 78 of the Transport Operations (Road Use Management) Act 1995. He was fined $450 and disqualified from holding or obtaining a driver’s licence for 1 month. Although A did not hold a Queensland driver’s licence, he did hold a Victorian one. The question on appeal was whether or not the Victorian licence authorised the driving.

Under s 128(6) of the Transport Operations (Road Use Management – Driver Licensing) Regulation 2010, the authority to drive in Queensland on an interstate licence is withdrawn 3 months after the holder takes up residence in Queensland. The prosecution relied on circumstantial evidence to show that A had taken up residence in Queensland.

Other evidence showed that although he owned a property in Queensland, his lifestyle was itinerant and he had credible connections with both Victoria and New South Wales.

Held: Given that the prosecution relied on circumstantial evidence of residence, it had not excluded beyond reasonable doubt an available hypothesis that at the relevant time A had not yet taken up residence in Queensland.

Commentary: This case is authority for the proposition that it is for the prosecution to prove beyond reasonable doubt that an interstate licence holder took up residence in Queensland 3 or more months before the alleged offence, thereby triggering s 128(6). A had flagged his potential defence at an early stage, but the opportunity to explore and challenge it was not taken up by the prosecution, even when A gave evidence and was cross-examined.

The case also discusses what amounts to taking up residence in Queensland.

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Andrew West
By Andrew West

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