News

Failure to vote costs football player licence for a month

Rockhampton's Jamie Simpson lost his licence for a month because he didn't vote in 2012. Photo Austin King / The Morning Bulletin
Rockhampton's Jamie Simpson lost his licence for a month because he didn't vote in 2012. Photo Austin King / The Morning Bulletin Austin King

ROCKHAMPTON'S Jamie Simpson was living in England, playing football in the English Super League when fellow Queenslanders went to the polls in March 2012.

His failure to cast a vote has ultimately cost him his driver's licence for a month.

The sentence was imposed when the 27-year-old fronted the Rockhampton Magistrates Court last week on a charge of driving on a suspended licence.

Jamie said he never knew his licence was suspended, a penalty which resulted from him not paying the $110 fine for not voting.

The professional rugby league player (pictured) had relocated from Rockhampton and was playing for the Huddersfield Giants in 2011 and 2012.

He was living in the West Yorkshire township of Huddersfield and had left his forwarding address in Australia as his mum's home in Brisbane.

As he tries to make sense of the situation, he now thinks that the initial fine and any further notifications were sent to the Brisbane address - after his mother had moved.

Non-payment of the fine meant it was referred to the State Penalties Enforcement Agency, which collects and enforces unpaid court fines, infringement notices, offender levies and offender debt recovery orders.

Jamie returned to Rockhampton 11 months ago.

The first he knew of the fine was when police stopped him in December last year and told him he was driving on a suspended licence. He was charged and issued with a $350 on-the-spot fine.

"I was taken aback," he said. "I couldn't understand it. There is no way I would have been driving if I knew I had a suspended licence."

The police officer told him to contact SPER. He learned of the fine and was told he had 14 days' grace to address the matter.

He arranged to pay off the outstanding fine in instalments.

Jamie said the magistrate who heard his case was "very sympathetic" to his cause but explained that he had no option but to impose a suspension.

"I think it is a bit unfair to cop a punishment like this," Jamie said. "I try to be a role model. Anyone who knows me would realise there is no way I would do anything wrong."

Topics:  editors picks england football licence voting



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