Reynolds v Nonkovic [2023] WASC 326

In the primary decision appealed in Reynolds v Nonkovic [2023] WASC 326, the appellant was convicted in his absence for failing to ensure that his vehicles number plate was properly fixed. The learned magistrate had referred to the frustrating fact that he “indulges in these nonsensical arguments that have been resoundingly disabused by the Supreme Court”, that in the past he’d “had some lengthy dealings with Mr Reynolds as a result of being the only magistrate…” and that he has “significant doubts that Mr Reynolds is going to contribute in any meaningful way to sentencing today, based on his two prior presentations today, and furthermore his prior presentations before this court historically…”

Forrester J referred to the rule observed in Kelly v Fiander [2023] WASC 187, and held that:

“…the appellant was the person the subject of the prosecution notice. It was his refusal to acknowledge his name as being that contained in the prosecution notice which resulted in her Honour refusing to ‘recognise’ him as an accused in the matter. While it would no doubt have been time consuming, and frustrating in the context of a busy and high-volume court, if her Honour was not satisfied that the appellant was the person named in the prosecution notice, it was necessary for her Honour to have made further queries before determining whether the appellant had not ‘appeared.’ From previous experience, the learned magistrate was aware that there was another means available to her to verify the appellant’s identity. However, rather than utilise it, her Honour had the appellant removed and dealt with him in his absence.”

The imposed convictions, sentences and costs orders were set aside, and the matter was remitted to the Magistrates Court.