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If you decide to use or rely on the information or make decisions based on the information in this website (which VLA does not recommend) VLA is not liable to you or any third party in any way for any loss, damage, costs or expenses you or they may suffer or incur as a result.

Taking instructions from the prisoner

Information to assist the prisoner if they may need to attend court.

It is important to get as much evidence as possible to assist the prisoner to get the best outcome from a court hearing. Find out about the prisoner's financial circumstances, their state of mental and physical health. Get instructions about their housing situation after they leave prison. Also ask if they have a history of family violence and if special circumstances apply to their situation. The prisoner will need to provide evidence to support their claim. Find out what programs the prisoner has attended while in prison. Consider any direct and indirect consequences that imprisonment would have on the prisoner and their family.

Arguing disproportionate and excessive

If a prisoner is arguing that they should not be imprisoned on the ground that imprisonment would be disproportionate and excessive they would need to consider if:

  • spending one day in prison for every penalty unit is out of proportion with what is appropriate considering the kind of offences involved. For example, toll offences are generally less serious than offences that pose a danger to the public such as using a mobile phone or speeding.
  • the prisoner may have been less culpable because of illness, illiteracy or because the fines were incurred by someone else.

See Victorian Toll & Anor v Taha and Anor; State of Victoria v Brookes & Anor [2013] VSCA 37 (4 March 2013)(opens in a new window).

Arguing unduly harsh

If the person is to argue that they should not be imprisoned because imprisonment would be unduly harsh they would need to consider if:

  • spending one day in prison for every penalty unit is more severe than is necessary
  • there would be any hardship caused by a prisoner's dependents
  • an extension of their prison term would be particularly difficult for the prisoner, for example because of their age, physical condition, mental illness or financial situation
  • the prisoner has taken any steps to take responsibility for their action, such as seeing a financial counsellor.

More information

Case

Taha [2013] VSCA 37, 106 [260] (Osborn JA)

See Victorian Toll & Anor v Taha and Anor; State of Victoria v Brookes & Anor [2013] VSCA 37 (4 March 2013)(opens in a new window).

Reference

Department of Justice and Community Safety

This departmental flowchart explains the procedure for applying to calling-in fines from 1 July 2017.

See Sheriff 'Time Served' Scheme for Infringement Warrants—Interim Modified Model (pdf, 412 KB)(opens in a new window).

Note: This flowchart may not be out of date, due to the changes to the 'time served scheme', that applies from 9 August, 2021. An updated version will be uploaded when it is available.

Updated