Most of you will have heard of the Hoon Legislation, in particular of the Criminal Law (Clamping, Impounding and Forfeiture of Vehicles) Act 2007. A good summary can be found in the Bell judgement, but in short, here is the issue.
The difficulty with this is that section 12(a)(iii) says that a Court MUST make the Order; IE the Magistrate has no discretion to make a different Order, or not to make the Order at all.
A Port Pirie man, Mr Bell, appealed the forfeiture Order, and the matter was heard in the Supreme Court of South Australia before the then Justice Kourakis (now Chief Justice).
After about six months, His Honour handed down his judgement, upholding the appeal, and setting aside the Order for forfeiture. And there was much rejoicing. A copy of the judgement can be found here. Incidentally, the Austlii website (www.austlii.edu.au) is perhaps the most useful tool for finding legislation and caselaw in Australia, that is free.
There was a lot of noise about this decision, and it opens up a huge number of potential claims against the Police and the State Government for restitution for forfeited or crushed cars.
The decision has been appealed, and the appeal was heard in the Full Court of the Supreme Court a few weeks ago. We are awaiting the outcome with baited breath!