Monday, 17 November 2008

It's Ba ack! And it's NOTA Loophole

Remember the bus arrest? Well, it's back. The NSW Police realised they could not uphold a conviction, but that logical approach has not spread to the State Transit Authority. In fact, we have recent correspondence from our big-salaried Chief Executive of Sydney Buses (Safe, Clean & Convenient, Peter Rowley) stating that the issue of the fines has been reviewed and he is satisfied that they were correctly issued. Guess we'll see as the hearing is tomorrow at Ryde Local Court.

Has he read the legislation/regulations? Well, here it is, straight from the NSW Govt. website; Section 52 (1) A passenger must not take into or on any public passenger vehicle any dog, cat, bird or other animal: (b) in the case of a bus or ferry - except with the permission of,and in the manner permitted by, the driver of the bus or the ferry master.

Eedra Zey walks onto the uncrowded L20 bus at Ryde going to the city. She is obviously with a dog as Pema the border collie is by her side, on-lead. Driver asked destination, Eedra replies, driver says $4, Eedra provides a $20 note and apologises for not having the correct change, driver gives Eedra ticket and change. Eedra sits in the front of the bus and Pema is under the seat, virtually invisible. All is well.

Transit blokes board for routine ticket check. Eedra shows ticket, guys behind her do a dash, transit blokes go towards the back of the bus, but then 'their stop' comes up and they have to move on. Bloke Anal says to bloke Real, what about the dog? Real says to Anal what about it, she has a ticket. And the rest is dramatic history of which we have some very interesting video!

Responsible pet owners will make appropriate decisions about where and when to take their pet into public space. Many of us will even have our dogs 'public access trained' to earn back our privileges. It's time for common scents!


Anonymous said...

What? The bus company is taking you to court even though you acted within the law and at the direction of the bus driver, don't they have something better to do?

Anonymous said...

Any update on this?

Eedra at Barking Mad said...

The matter did not finish on the day, but we did have the media there.

Can't give specifics as it is a part-heard matter, but I can draw your attention to what has been said previously: I had a ticket issued by the bus driver and there was no incident on the bus other than the one created by one of the two transit officers on a routine ticket check.

We're back in court on the 4th of December.

OH - I can say that we now have CLEARER regulations on the carriage of pets - in our favour!!!! The NSW Regulations, in force from 1 February 08 are law, where the drivers' handbook / code of conduct, strictly speaking, isn't.

We are researching why RYDE local court tape-recording system can't handle a laptop on the Bar Table when ever other court I've been can! We suspect this has more to do with the bench then the technology, but hey, we're willing to dig for the facts. That's why we have government departments!

Always remember logic - if this were about DOGS, than assistance dogs would not be permitted on public transport.

If this were about DOGS, than dogs in Europe, S. America and most other places would not be allowed on public transport.

If this were about health, then dogs would not be kept as pets, or as working dogs.

If this were about logic, then the ability to travel on a train in Melbourne with a dog, but not a bus, and travelling on a bus in Sydney but not a train - would not be fact.

Yes, we are Barking Mad, but we are not mad.

Anonymous said...

But isn't your dog a recognised Assistance Dog?
If so, whether pet dogs are allowed on buses or not, does not even come into it, and I'm confused as to why you mentioned it?

Eedra at Barking Mad said...

Anon. Oh, this is hard, but I know this blog is being watched by some people for certain slip-ups, so I'm sorry to say because this matter is part-heard and my case is not closed yet, I can't reply to your question.

Eedra at Barking Mad said...

I CAN say that all the letters members wrote regarding a certain arrest, and other letters to Members of Parliament and/or their departments have been extremely helpful to the public transport campaign.

Introducing your local members to your well-socialised, well-trained dog is a very useful lobby tool.

You'll get remembered and if you deliver a solution to them, AND you are in a maginal seat - it's good. Kind of looks like ALL Labor seats might be marginal now (joke, sort of).

So too is using public transport with your pet (as appropriate) and letting us know the bus number, route, time and REASON if you are refused entry. One incident on it's own is not helpful. Barking Mad showing a list of bus numbers and times with names of people willing to stand up for their right - respectfully - is useful.

The Greens policy is for an increase in public transport. Lobby them, too. One letter to an MP can mean 100 votes, copy that letter to Barking Mad and it can carry the weight of 1000 voters in some electorates or in some campaigns.

Anonymous said...

Eedra at Barking Mad "Always remember logic - if this were about DOGS, than assistance dogs would not be permitted on public transport."

You do realise that the DOG has no access rights, an Assistance Dog is only permitted in no dogs allowed places because the Disabled PERSON is allowed - and an assistance dog constitutes a medical aid to a disabled person.

Anonymous said...

I saw your banner outside Ryde local court.
Way to go! Were you able to take perma into the court?

Eedra at Barking Mad said...

Yes, we had television media with us on the day. Doggies in court? Short answer no. Long answer yes, but below the line. Love it - Read Dog is My Witness on this blog, 18 Sept 08.

Rarely a problem at city courts, permission in advance helpful at local court, rural courts not an issue (in our experience).

Magistrates who are not up on assistance animals, or the FACTS of dogs health effect (non-effect) in a building ARE NOT HELPFUL and sometimes are not too keen on getting an education from below the bench!

The following is for info only, not legal advice..
Courts are not under local government control (the folks that administer the companion animal laws). They mostly run under the court security act in NSW and some buildings that have federal courts in them have federal laws as well. There is nothing in the court security act about dogs - pets, assistance animals or otherwise, remembering of course that humans are animals too. It's all about safety (which seems to be all about control, but I digress into the nanny state again).

This is why sheriffs’ have authority in the court building, no photos, etc, but police have authority OUTSIDE the building - and the poor old council rangers (especially the ones that didn't get into police school - sorry, couldn't resist...only talking about the MINORITY of rangers here), well they don't get a mention more or less than any one who does not BELONG in the IN (law fraternity) in the court house or room. Not a fraternity? Well think of a certain out-spoken female in Australian history who passed her legal exams and who the Supreme Court would not ‘admit’ to practice! I hope I don’t have to have THAT piece of history repeat itself, but I digress.

AND - Judges have judicial immunity meaning they are LITERALLY above the law. (As per the Australian Human Rights Commission). In this regard, they do NOT need to allow assistance animals as defined by Federal Law into their court - if they don't they are immune from a claim of discrimination.

HOWEVER, the magistrate at Ryde yields her power over the entire court house, not just the one and only court room AND did not want a dog in her court room.

OF COURSE, we questioned how she would respond to the solicitors in Sydney that have assistance dogs. Someone we doubt that she would have kicked them out when sleeping at their guardians feet (and NOT snoring).

Now logically, how can judicial immunity apply to an entire courthouse - not a court room of which 'belongs' to the presiding member of the judiciary? Can you see this in a larger court? We've got 30 courts in one building and one judge decides no dogs in the building - so what....the other 29 have to go along with it?

Also, this was the only NSW court I’ve ever been in where I’ve been prohibited from using a laptop at the bar table because it interferes with the recording system. Some may say a self-represented defendant is at a certain disadvantage already, and not being able to take notes WHILE watching the proceedings (i.e. touch typing) is preducial is another story. Then others will say self-represented get the breaks in courts, but they will be of the legal fraternity if they say that.

Anyway, it’s all about persuasion and other p words such as patience and others I will leave to your imagination.

We've made our inquiries with the proper authorities and will have an answer in writing before the next court appearance. It's not OK for me to wait outside next to the 6 lane noisy Victoria Rd where I was dragged on the ground by police who much later decided they could not sustain a charge against me. My body and mind are still scared and I do not joke - I have to be VERY mindful and avoid certain situations...

Anonymous said...

Was it in the media? I haven't seen anything.

So when is it going to be resolved? It seems to be dragging on a lot

Eedra at Barking Mad said...

This matter continues. We did sort out that Magistrate Betts at Ryde local court is known FAR and WIDE and legal professionals frequently compare her with certain farm animals. Wish we had known that at the time so we wouldn't take her behaviour so personally.

We have confirmed that our learned magistrate DOES NOT have control over the court house as she claimed, per the Attorney General's Department (and common sense).

We ALSO found out that her refusal to let me use my laptop 'because it interferes with the sound equipment' is also bullsh*t. Lovely when our judges spout out this stuff, isn't it?

The attorney general confirmed that laptops from self-represented litigants do not interfere with the sound equipment at Ryde Local Court.

There was never any question that laptops used by lawyers interfere with the sound equipment!!!