County Court appeal lodged over Go-Pro camera case

15 October 2015
Law firm Maurice Blackburn will continue the fight over the legality of using cameras on motorcycle helmets, with an appeal to the Victorian County Court.

The firm is acting on behalf of Max Lichtenbaum, who was fined $289 and lost three demerit points after being pulled over by police in Frankston in March 2014 for wearing a helmet with a camera affixed using adhesive.

Last month, Mr Lichtenbaum was found guilty in the Frankston Magistrates Court.

In September 2014, the then Police and Emergency Services Minister Kim Wells wrote to another motorcyclist and said: “There is no offence in the use of a GoPro attached to a bicycle or motorcycle helmet…”. Mr Wells added that any helmet camera must not damage the helmet shell nor distract the rider or other road users.

Mr Lichtenbaum’s lawyer, Maurice Blackburn principal Malcolm Cumming, said if the Court had interpreted the Road Rules in the same way as Mr Wells did, then Mr Lichtenbaum would have been found not guilty.

“If the police officer who issued the infringement interpreted the law as the then-Police Minister did, the infringement notice would not have been issued in the first place,” aid Mr Cumming.

Maurice Blackburn is arguing that helmets need to meet the relevant standard at date of manufacture and supply and that helmets do not and cannot become ‘unapproved’ at some later date.

“There are important legal principles that need to be clarified on the use of helmet cameras. Riders everywhere deserve certainty. In Queensland and in South Australia, it is legal to use helmet cameras. Why should riders face a fine when they ride over the border? The road rule Mr Lichtenbaum was fined under is also an Australian Road Rule and should be interpreted to operate consistently with other states.

It will also be argued in the Appeal that the Australian Standard that governs motorcycle helmets is not freely accessible to the public, and riders cannot be found guilty of breaching a standard that is not publically available.

Mr Cumming said riders used cameras to improve safety.

“In our work supporting riders injured in road accidents, we know that video from helmet cameras is some of the best evidence you can have if you are in a collision.

“We hope this test case will lead to an end in Victoria of motorcyclists being fined for attaching cameras and tinted visors to helmets to help improve their safety while riding.”

A date for the Appeal hearing is yet to set.

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