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Boy Racer Bill: guilty until proven innocent

Boy Racer Bill: guilty until proven innocent

The Green Party today attacked the so-called 'Boy Racer Bill' for overturning one of the fundamental principles of our justice system: that you are innocent until proven guilty.

Nandor Tanczos, the Green's Justice spokesperson, said the party's opposition is not about supporting petrol-heads, but the dangerous precedent set by Land Transport Amendment (Street and Illegal Drag Racing) Bill is passed.

The Greens say the bill is an unprecedented and dangerous extension of police power, allowing them to impound for up to 28 days cars suspected of being involved in illegal street racing.

"The bill says you are guilty until proven innocent because you will be punished before you've been found guilty of committing an offence," said Nandor.

"The Attorney General Margaret Wilson advised the Law and Order Select Committee that these powers breached the Bill of Rights. The committee effectively said they don't care.

"The law already allows the police to impound a vehicle if a person is caught drunk-driving or driving while disqualified.

"This is quite different because it is not a quantifiable breach of the law in the same way. Being 'guilty' of illegal racing involves a subjective judgement that should be made by a judge, not by a police officer.

"Clayton Cosgrove has claimed that the bill is necessary because the police do not have adequate powers. This is just not true. All of the behaviour outlawed by this bill are already offences under our careless and reckless driving laws.

"Those laws allow a court to confiscate vehicles but only after a person has been found guilty. The police don't need more powers, they just need to use the ones then already have.

Nandor also criticised the Government for passing all remaining stages of the bill under urgency.

"This denies Parliament the opportunity to properly consider the implications of this bill."

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