4/9/2007Australia: Cars Seized Based on Hearsay
Victoria, Australia seizes cars based on vague complaints about anti-social driving.
Residents of the state of Victoria, Australia can now settle scores by calling the police and ordering the seizure of someone's car. Hearsay evidence that a car may have had a "sustained loss of traction" is enough for police to seize a vehicle. So far in the city of Wodonga, three cars have been taken based solely on citizen complaints.
"Under the anti-hoon laws if a person signs a statement we can impound the car," Wodonga Police Sergeant Cameron Roberts told the Border Mail newspaper.
On Thursday, an off-duty police officer saw a twenty-year-old "fishtail" around a roundabout in a Ford Falcon. Instead of pursuing the youth accused of dangerous driving, he called in to have the car seized the next day. The police will collect A$204 in fees for the car's return on Tuesday. On a second accusation, police keep the car three months and on a third police will sell the car and keep the profit.
Between July 2006, when the so-called anti-hoon legislation was enacted, and February 2007, Victoria police seized 925 cars and 109 motorcycles -- an average of nearly five vehicles per day.