George Koromilas was initially charged for failing to produce a driver’s licence, claiming he wasn’t required to have one in order to exercise his common law right to travel. He instead demanded ID from the officer obstructing his lawful journey. At the mention, George Koromilas repeatedly demanded to raise some “preliminary issues” before being asked to enter his plea. Mr Koromilas refused to enter a plea, complained that he was forced to travel from Bulleen to the Ringwood Magistrates Court and questioned the authority of the magistrate to enter a plea of not guilty on his behalf.
Despite being asked several times to stop talking back, Mr Koromilas continued to remonstrate with the magistrate before Ringwood magistrate William White warned him another outburst would see him charged with contempt.
The warning failed to curb his enthusiasm for arguing, forcing a police prosecutor to call for backup before Mr Koromilas was arrested in court. He shouted and complained of police brutality while being handcuffed before being led from court. Mr Koromilas was charged with contempt and spent about five hours in custody. He continued an angry tirade accusing the court and police of racism and corruption.
At the next hearing, George Koromilas tried to approach Judge Lisa Hannan’s bench and hand up an invoice for $2.5 million. “That’s ridiculous,” was all Judge Hannan had to say about the invoice.
Mr Koromilas had a couple of minor outbursts about being denied due process before his case was adjourned off for legal argument. Mr Koromilas was accompanied in court by Vasilios Kyriazis, another court regular with a track record of bluing with judges. In November 2016, a County Court Judge labelled Mr Kyriazis a “complete pain in the bottom” after a morning of constant outbursts from the dock during an appeal brought over a conviction for failing to produce a driver’s licence.
During the hearing, Mr Kyriazis whispered advice while Mr Koromilas asserted to Judge Hannan he had been denied proper process. The pair were accompanied by a small posse of supporters, who were admonished by Judge Hannan’s tipstaff for failing to stand when she left the court.
Mr Koromilas lost his appeal for the contempt conviction when it returned to court in April 2017.
Chatting with George Koromilas and his followers on social media, from what I could gather his argument centred around Kaba v DPP, in which the magistrate ruled that police do not have an unfettered right to stop a vehicle. While this is true to a certain extent, the difference remains that Kaba was not the driver, and secondly, that the decision was overturned on appeal in the Victorian Supreme Court decision of DPP v Kaba  VSC 52 in relation to the interpretation of s 59 (1) of the Road Safety Act 1986 (Vic). Contrary to the primary decision, police do have a power of random stop and check under that provision.
He was also confused about the effect of the DPP v Hamilton  VSC 598 decision, where the Supreme Court ruled that police have no unfettered right to stop a person arbitrarily. He argues this case provides a blanket immunity from being stopped by police for identification, even when driving, but miss two crucial elements. Hamilton was on foot, not in a car, and Police didn’t have sufficient grounds for ‘belief’ as stated in the judgment.
In Victoria, a person must pull over when signaled by police, which includes a PSO in their designated area, under s 59 (1) of the Road Safety Act 1986 (Vic) They must provide a name and address when asked. This is ‘name AND address’, not ‘driver’s licence’. You do not have to have your driver’s licence on you if you’re over 26 and not on your Ls or Ps (See s 19(8)), but do need to provide your name and address in some way. This can be your rego number if you are driving your own car. Under s 76 of the Road Safety Act 1986 (Vic) Police may arrest a person for driving offense if they refuse to give a name AND address, or there is reason to believe they have given false information. (See Police powers in Victoria)
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