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HomeIssue 10Injured pensioner cops parking ticket

Injured pensioner cops parking ticket

p2248-Trevor-ShiellBy ERWIN CHLANDA
A town council ranger gave a 75-year-old pensioner a parking ticket while he was trying to deal with injuries he suffered in a fall in the CBD.
He had been helped to his car by a tourist, drove it to the library, parked it in a place for disabled and went inside “to assess options for treatment on the net.
“I came out to the notice of infringement,” says the pensioner, Trevor Shiell.
The $135 fine blew out to $241 when the council forwarded the debt to the NT government’s collection agency as Mr Shiell was making a case for the fine to be withdrawn.
He says he had “a very swollen and painful knee” and was trying to work out how to deal with his situation, an injury dating back to playing football as a young man.
He says the council clearly was not moved by medical certificates he presented in support of his request to have the fine waived.
He says the accident happened outside business hours and there was no possibility of getting a temporary permit as suggested later by the ranger unit: “It was not something that could be anticipated and planned around.”
He paid the fine this morning, doing so “against my better judgement,” as he says he told Mayor Damien Ryan in an email.
“Sophie (his wife) has insisted that I pay this infringement. It has caused a significant rift in my family, and a lot of conscience searching for me personally.
“I have been assured that a legal case against the Alice Springs Town Council would have around 90% success rate … but that the costs might run into thousands and as a 75 year old part pensioner I simply cannot afford to run it because of my belief in a principal of fair play.”
The council did not respond to a request for comment made by the Alice Springs News Online early on Tuesday.


  1. Good decision Trevor, the law is not for the ordinary person, let alone pensioners.
    Let’s imagine you went to a lawyer. The following is approximate but not unrealistic.
    Two grand up front into a lawyer’s trust fund, discussion with lawyer ($300) lawyer checks the relevant law ($200) writes letter ($300) no response for ages so you email him (lawyer doesn’t respond but $40 for reading your email).
    Lawyer writes them a reminder ($200), gets negative response ($50 to read it), lawyer calls you (telephone meeting $200) responds to counter on point of law ($300) gets positive response ($50 to read it), calls you to give you the good news ($100).
    By paying it you saved yourself $1499.

  2. How are ASTC rangers supposed to know Mr Shiell had an injury? I didn’t realise sports injuries entitled you to a disabled carpark.
    He parked in a disabled park without a disabled permit – simple.
    Hopefully he can recoup some of the cost after obtaining a medical certificate.

  3. The way to avoid parking tickets is to park according to the prescribed requirements. No point using the poor pensioner defence, it doesn’t work.

  4. Do you realize the council uses your money to fight you very rarely do you win I am surprised people are not suing council for being hit by bikes on footpaths and the very poor state of footpaths and what are skate boards doing on footpaths

  5. Why don’t the council respond to such queries? One reason – they are not game enough.
    Yes car parks are for disabled people but the council in my experience does not consider doctors opinions when they give out disabled stickers.
    Now if this person were Aboriginal would they have had to pay a fine?
    If sports injuries are not disabilities then neither are birth injuries.

  6. What about the poor handicapped person who wanted to park in that spot and had a disabled permit?
    He was injured, must have been bad if he could go to library and google self injury management.
    Not an emergence reason at all.
    Should have paid ticket instead of making dumb excuses in attempt to get ticket waived.
    Sick of people not taking responsibility for their actions.

  7. In the first instance, yes the gentleman would have got a ticket, HOWEVER once he showed the medical information, the fine should have been waived.
    Unfortunately, common-sense isn’t that common.
    For those without any compassion, it could have been your Mum or Dad. This gentlemen is 75, for goodness sakes. Contrary to Scotty’s asinine comment, I am sure the Gentleman has probably taken responsibility for his actions throughout his life and will continue to do so.
    Sarcasm is actually still the poorest form of wit.

  8. Would be a rare day when there wouldn’t be a non handicapped space near the library after hours. What are the other parking / road rules that pensioners are unofficially exempt from?

  9. Maybe it was outside business hours in the shops and offices in town, but clearly it was not after library hours.
    The disability spaces are there for the disabled.
    Having said that, council could have shown a bit more understanding / compassion, but when was the last time anyone can remember an instance of that?

  10. Wouldn’t it be a safer place in NT towns such as Alice Springs and Darwin if the police patrolled the parking places giving warnings, suspended sentences, good behavior bonds AND the parking officers used their on the spot robust powers to arrest, fine and imprison the real criminals.

  11. Surprised: Let’s all get medical certificates and park where we like.
    Common sense?
    A medical certificate does not exempt anyone from parking in a disabled park.
    He was guilty and eventually paid the fine.
    Let’s stop making excuses for illegal actions.

  12. So Scotty, if here was indeed another disabled person wanting the park to go to the Library, according to your version of logic, if they could spend time in the Library, they shouldn’t have needed a disabled park either!
    I’m with Surprised and Roger W Miller on this one.

  13. Cogs: A disabled person can park in disabled car park and go wherever they want. After all they have a permit.
    Just because you have a sore knee or another injury doesn’t give you the right to park in a disabled car park.
    If it’s that bad (injury) go to doctor or hospital, not library.
    My logic, which is the law: “Don’t park in a disabled park without a disabled permit”.
    Another (Cogs) trying to make excuses for breaking the law. I’ll wait for another invalid reason why breaking the law is OK.

  14. The $135 fine blew out to $241 when the council forwarded the debt to the NT government’s collection agency as Mr Shiell was making a case for the fine to be withdrawn.
    No kidding … that’s what happens.
    He says he had “a very swollen and painful knee” and was trying to work out how to deal with his situation, an injury dating back to playing football as a young man.
    Not a new injury, not an emergency situation.
    He went to the library and got the ticket he deserved for where he parked illegally.

  15. Well, I just pray that if I ever have the misfortune of ending up in the dock that most of the mean spirited correspondents here are not my jurors. There is so little compassion amongst most of you mean-spirited lot. You have so little understanding and compassion.
    The ranger was correct in issuing the violation but the council was miserable in not cancelling the fine after the medical certificate was produced. I am no easy, soft cop but really! Just proves to me that revenue is the driving motivation for the fines and not social order and fairness.
    Goodness, has our society become so legalistic that there is no room for understanding? I thought that our town had much more social spirit and goodwill. Trevor is no scammer! Any number of people would support him with a character reference.

  16. The ranger simply did his job. I submitted two medical certificates to council and got no response, apart from an application for a disability permit, which was issued, and returned as being no longer necessary.
    It occurred at 11.30 on a Saturday morning, hardly a time to get an emergency doctor’s appointment, and I had previously been to the doctor a week before the incident in relation to the knee and was referred to the orthopedic registrar at the hospital.
    The Council had both of these certificates and now in spite of two requests has not returned them.
    At the time of the offence there were two other unoccupied disability spaces at the library and from memory, they were still there when I left.
    The question still remains as to what happens to a person who has a recurrent but occasional injury which is not permanent such as I had should they park at the disability space adjacent to KFC on Gap road in order to visit Central Clinic without a permit? And what is the position if the clinic is closed as it was on that day? Hospital? Been there done that!
    The silliness is that how can a person anticipate such an event, and how my actions in refusing a disability sticker simple made way for someone else with a more serious condition than I had.
    It would have been tantamount to denying a space to someone more deserving long term. My knee is still weak, painful, and unreliable, but usable.
    I do not need a disability sticker but did need respite on that occasion. Regulations do not allow for situations such as this, and the solution is so simple in additional signage on the posts, outlining procedures to be followed in the case of “emergencies” and temporary incapacity, as mine was.
    I repeat that next time I have such an accidental and unanticipated fall at short notice I will attempt to get permission from the council prior to having the accident.
    I have also requested a copy of the regulations from the council but unfortunately, like the return of the medical certificates has not been forthcoming.
    Attempts to get these regulations on line simply goes straight to the Rangers’ office. I repeat that the money is not the issue, but I intend to escalate this in the interests of other ratepayers who have accidental but not permanent disabilities such as mine was. The fines recovery unit also threatened me with cancellation of all dealings with the MVR, which would have been a disaster, and possibly life threatening as it would denied me access to the town, and medical treatment, as I live 15 km out, and rely on motor transport.
    And all this as a result of having an accident! This is the reason why I had no option but to pay the fine. As Maggie Thatcher famously stated “The law is the law is the law” but the law is also an ass at times and needs examination.


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