Edit: New readers to the topic would be well placed to scan it from the beginning since it appears nothing has changed since the first post, but click here to go to the latest post as of March 2023.
Most people are unaware that a littering offence immediately makes you guilty until you prove your innocence. If someone reports you for littering the EPA will issue a fine based purely on that person reporting that they saw you litter.
They just go online, or download a form or use an app to send in your car registration. They only have to be prepared to attend court. Fill out the form with the details, and the EPA sends you and infringement notice. You have to ask for a review of the incident, or fill out a statuary declaration saying it wasn’t you and you don’t know who did it,or go to court to prove your innocence.
Here is a link from the Herald Sun on someone who was falsely accused:
In this article EPA spokeswoman Tanya O’Shea said fined motorists needed to prove their innocence to the EPA - not the EPA to prove their guilt. She then issues a clarification.
Ms O’Shea said she had been misquoted.
She said: “Under law drivers of motor vehicles have to take responsibility for litter deposited from their vehicles, however a statutory declaration can be provided in instances when the infringement notice is incorrect.” She doesn’t say if this will prove your innocence.
Here is link to a forum where somenone is advocating using the system to “fine someone you don’t like” http://forums.silverstackers.com/topic-49520-how-to-fine-someone-you-dont-like-littering-victoria-500-fine.html.
Why would the person take the risk, he explains, “Did they cut you off in traffic? Did they honk at you? Is it your neighbour you don’t like?” and “Most people accused are too scared of having to front court to dispute it or are too busy living their lives so just pay it rather than “buck the system”. You can probably even put down a fake name and address as the “witness” as you will only need to be verified if the case actually proceeds to court, but the fine will still be issued.”
So much for innocent until proven guilty. Why don’t they have to fill in a statutory declaration, with it’s penalties for making a false statement. Is he right, do the EPA check that the the witness details are real only when going to court and not before issuing the infringement notice?
How do I know all this, someone did this to me recently and I am waiting to hear back if my statutory declaration will clear my name or whether I have to go to court.