NSW scrubs $36m in fines for COVID lockdown violations

Protesters fined for turning out to oppose lockdown laws have had their fines negated.

Protesters fined for turning out to oppose lockdown laws have had their fines negated. Photo: Real Rukshan /Facebook

As the great COVID lockdowns fade into memory, NSW has negated some $36 million in fines in the wake of a milestone Supreme Court ruling.

Thousands of fines were issued by NSW Police to members of the public who allegedly contravened health orders during the pandemic lockdowns in 2020 and 2021.

But in a landmark ruling in November 2022, Justice Dina Yehia said the fines were not valid because they did not include a sufficiently detailed description of the offences.

Following this ruling, the NSW Commissioner of Fines Administration withdrew four types of public health order fines which were similar to the ones examined during the Supreme Court case.

These included unlawfully participating in an outdoor public gathering and failing to comply with the requirement of public health order.

According to the NSW Customer Service department’s annual report, $36.3 million in fines were reversed in 2023 following the commissioner’s decision.

A spokesperson for Revenue NSW said this amounted to about 36,600 fines being withdrawn.

“The decision to withdraw these fines does not mean the offences were not committed, but that the fine notices in question had insufficient descriptions of the offences committed,” the spokesperson said.

As of November 20, around 90 per cent of the withdrawn COVID-19 fines had been refunded and the remaining were in the process of being refunded.

A total of 62,138 COVID-19 related fines were issued by police during the pandemic.

-with AAP

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