Answers provided last week by Minister Tom Koutsantonis and the Courts Administration Authority (CAA) on the Minister’s driving record had only raised further questions for the Minister to answer.
A summary of the position, as outlined by Liberal MLC Rob Lucas, is as follows:
• On 21 May 2007 Mr Koutsantonis was fined for speeding at the corner of West and South Terraces and by April 2009 there was an overdue fine of $410;
• The attached document, tabled by the CAA at last week’s meeting of the Budget and Finance Committee, indicates that under normal processes Mr Koutsantonis and the Registrar of Motor Vehicles would have received a “cessation of business” order about four months later (or about September 2007) which would have prevented Mr Koutsantonis from registering any of his three vehicles until the fine was paid;
• A CAA spokesman is quoted in the Advertiser saying that Mr Koutsantonis’ outstanding fine was one of 600 recovered from normal processes for a special “trial” which was soon abandoned because it did not provide reliable results;
• The CAA told the Budget and Finance Committee there were 47,300 “cessation of business” orders in 2007-08 and the CAA spokesman is quoted in the Advertiser as stating that Mr Koutsantonis was not singled out for special treatment;
• The CAA spokesman quoted in the Advertiser stated that Mr Koutsantonis’ fine was one of 600 randomly selected from those marked “returned to sender”;
• This fine was eventually paid on 20 April 2009, or 700 days later!
“If one accepts the CAA statements about this special “trial”, then it is clear that someone must have received the notice of the original fine and marked the envelope as “return to sender” and sent it back, either to South Australia Police or the CAA,” Liberal MLC Rob Lucas said today.
“It is hard to believe that either Mr Koutsantonis or a member of his family would mark the envelope as “return to sender” on the basis they didn’t know where Mr Koutsantonis was!
“So the obvious question for Mr Koutsantonis is: if the CAA statements are correct, what were the circumstances which led to his infringement notice being marked “return to sender” and, in particular, what address did he use and who did mark it as “return to sender”?
“If the CAA statements are accepted as an explanation for the May 2007 unpaid fine, then another obvious question remaining is: what happened to the further unpaid fine from Mr Koutsantonis in May 2008?
“Again, if the normal processes were followed, then four months later (or about September 2008) Mr Koutsantonis would have been issued with a “cessation of business” order which would have prevented him from registering any of the three vehicles registered in his name until the fine was eventually paid. Was this unpaid fine also the subject of another “special trial”?
“Mr Koutsantonis could also assist transparency and accountability on this issue by indicating for the last two years the address he used for registering his three vehicles and the dates on which he registered these vehicles in the last two years.”