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3/4/2011
Australia: Influential Group Has Its Photo Enforcement Tickets Canceled
Victoria, Australia ombudsman finds group called The Brotherhood had speed camera tickets canceled.

George Brouwer
The Ombudsman for Victoria, Australia accused a secretive organization known as The Brotherhood of using its influence to have speed camera and red light camera tickets canceled for its founder. Ombudsman George E. Brouwer transmitted a report to the legislative assembly Tuesday providing detail about the group's 150 members which include state police, government officials, a member of parliament, representatives from insurance firms, financial institutions and the media.

The danger, Brouwer contended, is that the club might be used to trade or sell sensitive government information, a situation uncovered in the 1992 investigation by the New South Wales Independent Commission Against Corruption (ICAC) into a group known as "The Information Exchange Club."

"ICAC identified that the club unlawfully traded government information, including driver license and motor vehicle registration particulars and police records," Brouwer's report explained. "ICAC noted a disregard for privacy, integrity and propriety among the club and concluded that greed had prevailed over public duty; and laws and regulations designed to protect confidentiality had been ignored."

The Brotherhood was founded by former Senior Police Constable John Moncrieff, who was disciplined during his service from 1988 to 1999 for, among other things, assault on member of the public, negligence and providing a false statement during a disciplinary interview. The Ombudsman also found that a Victoria Police officer who worked in the speed camera office canceled $2000 worth of tickets for Moncrieff and his companies. The group's founder, denied receiving any special favors.

"They weren't waived for me, they were waived for the company, and I'm meeting my obligations underneath what the act is," Moncrieff said on the Australian Broadcasting Corporation show Lateline. "If you look at the traffic camera fines, it says to you that an authorized officer as a company has a responsibility under a certain section to take all reasonable steps and that's what we did. We identified who could have been driving those vehicles at the time. So, I dispute that it's me."

While supporters of automated ticketing machines frequently insist that speed cameras show no special treatment to anyone, this is far from true in practice. Morningside, Maryland Town Councilman Regina Foster resigned last month in the wake of a Maryland State Police investigation that allegedly found evidence that she had fixed photo enforcement tickets.

In California, judges, off-duty police officers, legislators, prosecutors, jail guards, social workers, park rangers, city councilmen, dog catchers, Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) employees, zoo veterinarians and firefighters can all exempt themselves from receiving red light camera tickets merely by enrolling in the "confidential" license plate program that shields their information from the private vendors that operate the ticketing programs. Attempts to rein in the practice by repealing the confidential plate law have failed.

Redflex Traffic Systems has a "procedural manual" it supplies to company employees who review citations. The document explains that entire classes of motorist, such as judges and members of Indian tribes, can have their citations automatically rejected.

A copy of the report is available in a 200k PDF file at the source link below.

Source: PDF File Risks associated with secretive organisations (Victoria, Australia Ombudsman, 3/1/2011)

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