A young man who was thrown out of the family home has been saved from a criminal conviction after a court ruled in his favour.
One of Marrickville Legal Centre’s youth solicitors argued the young person never received notification that his driver’s licence had been suspended. Instead, it had gone to his father’s home in Punchbowl, where he was not welcome.
“I had been kicked out of my father’s house because I had decided to transition from female to male. My father is really religious and he’s also a blackbelt – so I just backed off and started couch surfing,” says Jacob.
Jacob only learnt about the suspension when he was pulled over by a staff member from the Roads and Maritime Service in November 2017.
Liverpool Local Court dismissed the criminal charge of driving without a valid licence, which carries a maximum penalty of $3300 and six months in prison.
The Magistrate found Jacob’s circumstances were such that he could provide a reasonable and honest explanation as to why he drove without a valid licence.
“It means a lot because it’s not on my record. That’s a huge thing,” says Jacob, who has found stable accommodation and employment as a driver.
While the criminal matter has been dismissed, his employment remains in doubt. He is not able to work as a driver for three months, as he will still lose his licence for offences including speeding.
In the meantime, Jacob can fall back on his skills as a chef – but the income falls short of being a driver at a critical time.
He’s scheduled to have chest surgery in August, for which he needs an additional $4,000 – money that he was hoping to get from being on the road.
Marrickville Legal Centre runs a state-wide Youth Legal Service for people between the ages of 12 and 25. It can be reached on 9559 2899.