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Driving on an interstate licence – Austin v Commissioner of Police  QDC 159
UPDATED 1 AUGUST 2017
Driving on an interstate licence
Austin v Commissioner of Police  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Use Management – Driver Licensing) Regulation 2010, the authority to drive in Queensland on an interstate licence is withdrawn 3 months after the holder takes up residence in Queensland.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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