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Redfern Legal Centre (RLC) has filed a new NSW Supreme Court application to cancel a COVID-related fine on the grounds of invalidity.

The $3,000 fine was issued to a woman, who was living out of her van at the time of the fine, for leaving Greater Sydney “for prescribed purposes without a permit – individual”.

The woman was waiting at the border for a permit to enter South Australia, where a friend had offered her accommodation.

In November 2022, the NSW Supreme Court deemed two COVID fines invalid after a case filed by Redfern Legal Centre. The ruling prompted the State Government to rescind and refund over 33,000 fines issued during lockdowns. 29,000 fines remain.

“It is our position that all the remaining 29,000 COVID fines fail to meet the legal requirements as outlined in the recent Supreme judgement and are therefore invalid,” says Samantha Lee, instructing senior solicitor at Redfern Legal Centre.

The Court considered the description in the penalty notice offence insufficient and did not comply with section 20 of the Fines Act 1996 (NSW).

“We expected Revenue NSW to withdraw all remaining COVID fines following the Supreme Court’s judgement earlier this year, but this has not yet occurred,” Lee said.

According to The Guardian, Revenue NSW contacted fine recipients individually about the Government’s intention to not withdraw more fines beyond the original 33,000. A position criticised by Redfern Legal Centre.

“We all know from statistics obtained from NSW Police that COVID fines were disproportionately issued to communities with a high proportion of First Nation populations and in low socio-economic areas.” Lee continued. “It is therefore especially important that fines that are invalid are withdrawn.”