Perth driver to fight obscure window-washer charge in court
“His lights came on so I thought I might have had a light out or something,” Mr Bresland said.
“Then he’s asked me if I gave the guy some money back there, and I said yes, and he said are you aware that’s illegal, and I said no.
“He just came up and started washing my windows and I thought I’d just give him some money because he’d done it – I didn’t ask him to.”
Mr Bresland said the police officer couldn’t find the right code to issue a fine on-the-spot, and said he would send it in the mail instead.
“I asked him, given the fact I didn’t ask the window washer to come over, and I didn’t know it was illegal, could he just caution me, and he said he could but he chose not to,” he said.
“He told me I could plead not guilty in court, and I said that was a waste of my time and his, and then he told me he was a public servant and gets paid hourly.”
The father-of-three received the $50 fine in the mail a month later for the offence of ‘buying a newspaper from a person’, and has entered a not guilty plea in the Perth Magistrates Court.
Under the Road Traffic Code, it is against the law for a driver, or passenger, in a car to ‘buy or offer to buy an article or service from a person who is on a carriageway’.
The offence is so rare, prominent Perth lawyer John Hammond has never heard of it being issued.
“Firstly, congratulations to the police for finding a law that most lawyers would never have heard of,” he said.
“Secondly, this would have been better dealt with by a warning rather than a charge where the infringement notice penalty is $50.
“[The law] is an attempt by WA Police to stop young kids washing the windows of cars.
“Should it be outlawed? Yes, but not by punishing the driver of the vehicle, who is often under pressure to accept the service or the service commences without any request.”
In the statement of facts to be used at trial, police allege Mr Bresland’s explanation for the incident was: “He just started, I gave him a couple of bucks.”
“Police observed the accused’s vehicle windscreen being washed by a young male who then approached the accused’s car door,” the statement read.
“The accused handed the male person Australian currency before driving east and turning north on to Thomas Street.
“Police stopped and spoke with the accused.”
Mr Bresland will appear in court next month over the matter.
Heather McNeill covers breaking news with a focus on crime, courts and Aboriginal affairs for WAtoday.