Yang Li says he was unfairly blamed for 11 driving offences, then asked to prove his innocence

A Melbourne driver who said he was innocently nominated for almost a dozen driving offences has had his appeal knocked back.

Yang Li says he was unfairly blamed for 11 driving offences, then asked to prove his innocence

Yang Li says he was unfairly blamed for 11 driving offences, then asked to prove his innocence. Source: Redbook/Rita

Yang Li says he has been nominated 11 times for driving offences between 2018 and 2021, but claims he was involved in none of them.

He said that had never seen or driven the vehicles involved in the infringements, and accused Fines Victoria and the Victorian police departments for “shirking [their] responsibilities”.

Mr Li said the 11 nominations had given him over 20 demerit points, causing his Victorian driver’s licence to be currently suspended and nine points still on the record. 

He told SBS Chinese that he lodged an appeal immediately after being nominated for the first time in January 2018, but it was dismissed due to “lack of evidence”. 

Numerous subsequent appeals were all rejected on the grounds that Fines Victoria believed such nominations were submitted with his knowledge or consent, he said.

When he explained this to a police officer who pulled him over during his suspension period, the officer agreed that the people shown in the infringement camera photos were not Mr Li himself, he said. 

However, he was told that there was nothing the police could do, since it was not an offence to incorrectly nominate others for driving offences, and that they suggested he contact Fines Victoria.

The state administrative body gave a similar response, saying it was not their responsibility to determine whether a person was contravening the law, and asked Mr Li to contact Victoria Police instead, he said.

Fines Victoria further requested Mr Li ask the nominator driver to submit a statutory declaration that proved Mr Li was not the driver of the vehicles at the time of the alleged offences, a task which Mr Li described as “completely illogical”.

A struggle searching for the nominator

When Mr Li inquired further with the Department of Justice and Community Safety, he said he was provided with the names of the nominators, but not their detailed personal information, such as residential addresses and contact numbers, due to privacy protection.

Freedom of information act
Freedom of information act Source: Supplied/ 李先生

He said a lawyer that he consulted about the case told him that there was nothing a lawyer could help with until a decision was made about the appeal and when he decided to challenge the matter at the court.

Sydney lawyer Clifford To agreed, before adding that Mr Li also had the right to lodge a complaint with the Victorian Ombudsman regarding the alleged “unreasonable” request made by Fines Victoria.

When approached by SBS Chinese, Fines Victoria declined to comment on Mr Li’s case as the Department of Transport of Victoria referred the enquiries to the Department of Justice and Community Safety, which also declined to comment on the requirements for Mr Li to provide evidence proving his innocence. 

“A nominated driver should reject the nomination if they were not driving the vehicle at the time of the offence. The fine will then be re-issued to the person who submitted the nomination,” a spokesperson for the Department said.

“If a driver believes they have been unfairly issued a fine or they have a valid reason why the fine should be withdrawn, they can request a review on the Fines Victoria website.” 

Social media users with similar experiences plead for help

Many social media users have also detailed similar experiences, with some complaining the nomination process is overly simple.

“My daughter received an infringement notice for speeding in which she was nominated by someone else. She has made a complaint via the Fines Victoria website, (and) also [lodged] a statutory declaration saying that she was not the driver nor knew the car,” one Reddit user wrote. 

澳洲網民分享類似經歷 Source: Reddit/infringement_nomination_fraudulent/

“Yesterday, we received a letter saying that the complaint statement was rejected due to the enforcement agency not being satisfied.

“Calling Fines Victoria [was] pretty useless as [they kept] suggesting using the website.”

However, some said they had successfully rejected the nominations by providing work rosters as alibis, while some others resorted to applying for a new driver’s licence number.

To submit a nomination application on Fines Victoria’s website, the nominator would need to fill in the nominee’s name, address, drivers’ licence number, and some other information that can be found easily on a drivers’ licence. 

On the paper-form nomination application, it was the nominator’s signature that was required rather than that of the nominee.

Nominate a driver on Fines Victoria's website.
Nominate a driver on Fines Victoria's website. Source: Fines Victoria

Licence details leak “unavoidably possible”

When asked about the possibility of licence details being leaked to other parties, Mr Li said being a former tourist coach driver, that that was unavoidably possible. 

Some tourist clients had even asked for photocopy of his drivers’ licence for “peace of mind” during the trip, with numerous travel agencies also having his information on file, he said. 

It is an offence under section 84BI of the Road Safety Act 1986 to provide false or misleading information. Anyone found guilty of the offence may receive a fine of up to $10,904 for individuals, and may face a disqualification from driving. For body corporates, the fine could be as high as $21,808.

Further, if an individual or entity is found profiting from the provision of false or misleading information, the person could be charged for forging documents or obstructing justice.

5 min read
Published 15 June 2022 at 8:55am
By Tracy Lo, Winmas Yu