Murwillumbah 'AVO capital'

By MADELEINE DOHERTY

IT'S official - Murwillumbah is the "Apprehended Violence Order (AVO) capital of the universe," Tweed Magistrate Jeff Linden said yesterday.

With about 65 people applying for or defending AVO matters Mr Linden made Murwillumbah's dubious claim to fame.

While many of the AVOs related to domestic disputes, there were neighbours behaving badly along with one group claiming they had never seen the person taking out the AVO against them.

Then it turned out the applicant had never seen the defendants, but she had heard voices calling out at her. Neither party was prepared to back down and when mediation was rejected it was set down for a hearing with Mr Linden advising the applicant not to walk her dog passed the neighbour's house.

Meanwhile, outside the court room last-minute negotiations were underway as Lismore based barrister Peter O'Connor, acted for the president of the Tweed Liberal Party, John Francis Murray, in another AVO matter.

Mr Murray was fighting an AVO taken out by Colin Bramwell, of Pandanas Parade, Cabarita Beach, but at the eleventh hour, the hearing was ditched as both parties entered an agreement through legal representatives.

Also in court yesterday a Murwillumbah man joined the growing number of perplexed drivers who have lost their licence after paying a speeding fine.

Terrence Ambrose Reed, of Tweed Valley Way, Murwillumbah, was in Murwillumbah Local Court appealing against a decision by the NSW Roads and Traffic Authority (RTA).

Reed was caught by a speed camera speeding at Ewingsdale in May doing 30km over the speed limit.

The court heard that the area he was caught in was a 100km zone that changed to a 60km zone and that locals had a petition circulating to have the speed zone unified.

Reed received his $590 fine via the mail and paid it.

But then the RTA notified Reed in July, two months after the speeding offence, informing him his licence was suspended for three months following the fine payment.

Magistrate Jeff Linden said that once the fine is paid the RTA deemed it a conviction and suspended the driver's licence having no regard for the driver's history or where the infringement occurred.

"If this had come to court (initially) I would not have convicted the defendant," Mr Linden said.

The appeal was allowed and Reed's licence was returned.



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