The woman who was slapped with a $1652 fine for posting a holiday photo on Facebook has slammed Victorian police, claiming authorities are simply revenue raising.
Jaz Mott and her husband Garry were each fined more than $1650 because of a holiday photo they posted on Facebook. However, unbeknown to the police officer who knocked on their front door and issued the notice, the image was taken in June 2019 and was simply posted as a memory.
Mrs Mott, who said she was “shocked” when she was handed both fines, which were issued because Victorian police thought they had breached stay-at-home rules over the Easter weekend.
“I was a bit shocked she didn’t even say anything,” Ms Mott told A Current Affair.
“She just handed me the fines and walked off. I was a bit frustrated that they didn’t even give me a chance to explain. I reckon they are revenue raising, to say the least.”
After realising the mistake, Ms Mott said she received a call from a senior sergeant at Traralgon – near where the couple live – who revoked the fine.
“Then he basically told me not to post any more photos while the lockdown is in place,” she said.
“But it’s my Facebook, I should be able to post what I want.”
Victorian Police acknowledged the error, and admitted they won’t always get infringement notices right.
“We are not scanning social media, we are responding to tip-offs,” Victoria Police Deputy Commissioner Shane Patton said. “We are human, we are not going to get everything right all of the time. And we will make mistakes.”
Deputy Commissioner Patton has urged police to use “common sense” around the social distancing laws during the COVID-19 pandemic.
On Monday, a man claims he was also issued a fine for partaking in an activity he thought was completely within the social distancing rule book.
According to the Herald Sun, the man claims he was slapped with a $1652 penalty notice after he walked 200m from his house to Elwood beach in Victoria for a paddleboard.
The man, who was not identified, was allegedly escorted to the shore around 5.30pm on Easter Monday by police before being issued the notice.
“He went straight out on his own and wasn’t near anyone else – he was the only craft in the water,” a witness told the publication.
“When he got to about 400m out from the Brighton side, down near the marina, a police boat with its lights flashing screamed into the water.”
Over the holiday period, a group of men eating pizza in their car were caught out by new coronavirus restrictions after police saw them breaking social distancing rules.
The group of four was caught in Condell Park in southwest Sydney on Saturday afternoon when they were spotted by police, who moved in to break up the gathering.
Ten officers attended the scene, and one of the men was handcuffed after an altercation erupted.
Two of the men, aged 22 and 26, were fined $1000 each for failing to comply with a public health order, while another man was fined at the scene for using offensive language.