Australia: NSW Supreme Court Denies Right to Drive
An Australian woman jailed for nine months over her refusal to obtain a driver's license lost an appeal today before the Supreme Court of New South Wales. Losalina Rainima, member of the group United People Movement Against Road Taxes (UPMART), believes that government can no more decide who should be allowed to enjoy the freedom of movement than it can decide who can breathe or whether a kangaroo can hop. Both driver and vehicle licensing conflict with this fundamental right, Rainima argued in the charges she lodged against the state attorney general and the police officers who arrested her for driving without a license on March 3, 2007. Rainima has been behind bars since December 15, 2007. "It seems that the group holds strong views about the legitimacy of aspects of this state's traffic legislation," Justice Peter Hidden observed. "The strength of her belief has cost her dearly.... The arguments which the plaintiff advanced are entirely without substance and were doomed to fail." Justice Hidden said that because he believed Rainima's arguments did not present a credible challenge to the licensing law, that law must be obeyed. An UPMART attorney arguing on Rainima's behalf did not believe that the state had proved its case. "Does the state have original jurisdiction to turn an inalienable right into a privilege?" the attorney asked. "The prosecution and the attorney general have failed to prove that the state is with authority and jurisdiction to deny her inalienable right." Justice Hidden went ahead and denied Rainima's inalienable right to drive until the year 2023, but he did offer to release Rainima from jail on Sunday since she had served the full nine-month sentence imposed by a lower court. Rainima had refused the conditions imposed for early release on bail. "I have wronged no man or woman," Rainima wrote in a rambling court pleading. "I have …not wronged almighty God. I have a clear conscience. God has given me a right that is given to me, it's within me. … I have a right of passage. I have a right of movement. All living things are given graces; the birds fly, the fish swim, the kangaroo hops, and I've been given the graces to drive." The text of the ruling is available at the source link below.
Source: Rainima v Magistrate Freund (New South Wales, Australia Supreme Court, 9/12/2008)