Boy racks up $1047 fine in one day for riding without a helmet

The 16-year-old boy with an intellectual disability rode his bike without a helmet. On that single day, he was fined three times – twice by the same police officer – resulting in a $1047 debt to the state government, which he carried into adulthood.

The Redfern Legal Centre, the Public Interest Advocacy Centre and the Aboriginal Legal Service said the 3600 fines issued to minors over two years during the COVID pandemic – to children as young as 10, worth up to $5000 – intensified and exposed a wider problem.

They commissioned a study by academics at the Universities of Wollongong, NSW and Technology Sydney, which found the COVID fines were disproportionately given to disadvantaged, Indigenous, cognitively impaired or at-risk minors, and to minors living in the parts of Sydney hardest hit by illness.

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