Police who deliberately baited motorcyclists to break
the law then fined them have been exposed in a
recent court case, leading to a magistrate
describing the police as ''reckless''.
The finding could pave the way for
scores of other riders caught using similar tactics
to reclaim demerit points and fines.
The operation featured in the case
took place on September 16 and 23 last year in a
section of the Old Pacific Highway between Mount
White and Brooklyn. The Ku-ring-gai highway patrol
issued 68 tickets, all to motorbike riders.
Brothers Rod and James Ward were
booked for crossing the road's double dividing
lines. They were each fined $298 and lost three
points. James said they had been on a casual ride
when, ''in a flurry of dust and gravel'', a grey SUV
pulled out in front of them, then sped up and slowed
down several times. ''People were moving around
inside the vehicle and there was a commotion going
on in there and we didn't really know what was going
on,'' he said. ''I thought initially it was some
tourists who had been lost.''
He said the vehicle moved to the
left ''as if to beckon us past'' so they overtook
the SUV - an unmarked police car - by crossing to
the wrong side of the road.
From inside the SUV, officers
filmed the riders then radioed a patrol car down the
road with their licence plate details.
The brothers described the
incident as a case of police ''entrapment'' and
challenged the fines in court, along with three
other riders booked for the same offence.
While the defence of
''entrapment'' does not exist in Australia, their
barrister argued the police acted improperly and
that any evidence against the riders was
inadmissible. The riders told the court they felt
safer overtaking the undercover vehicle than
following it as it veered across the lane. The
officers involved denied the undercover vehicle was
Magistrate Eve Wynhausen
disagreed, describing their driving as ''erratic''
and said it had caused each of the riders to break
the law. ''I am satisfied on the evidence that the
driving had some influence on the actions of the
defendants and that … they would not have committed
the offences were it not for the way the covert
vehicle was being driven on both those days.''
The case against the riders was
dismissed. Ms Wynhausen criticised senior officers
involved, saying their behaviour fell ''far short''
of the NSW Police Code of Conduct and Ethics.
A police statement said a standard
review would be conducted into the failed court case
and police would continue to target dangerous driver
The brothers said they had been
contacted by dozens of riders who had also been