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$5 ice-cream turns into $500 fine

$5 ice-cream turns into $500 fine

A Melbourne mum has claimed a police officer who fined her for using her mobile phone while driving mistook an ice-cream she was eating for a smartphone.

Michelle Course said she wasn’t on her phone on November 2, 2020 the day she was fined.

The beauty therapist claims she was eating her favourite ice-cream; a Magnum Double Caramel Ego.

But Ms Course said when she attempted to explain this to the policemen, he refused to listen.

Ms Course was fined $496 and lost four driver demerit points.

"Sometimes you can get it wrong," Ms Course told A Current Affair.

"That day I was eating an ice-cream, I wasn't on my phone. I shouldn't have to pay it. I wasn't doing anything wrong.

"There's no way I could be on the phone and eating my Magnum Ego while driving."

Ms Course has said she can prove her case with the receipt for her ice-cream.

The receipt shows that Ms Course purchased the Magnum at 4:34 pm that day.

The fine was written at 4:40pm.

Ms Course also pointed out she doesn't need to use her phone while driving because her car has a hands-free system.

"I have no need to be holding my mobile phone while driving, and I can respond to message with voice," Ms Course said.

Lawyer Adam Cockayne has looked at Ms Course's case and he thinks she should fight the fine.

"I think Michelle should definitely fight the fine, if she's innocent then the fine should be withdrawn," Mr Cockayne said.

Mr Cockayne - also known as the “Fine Defender” - helps fight wrongful penalties and has a message for those behind the wheel.

"80 per cent of those fines are being thrown out by the Magistrates," Mr Cockayne said.

"The review system isn't working, because it should never have got that far."

Victoria Police full statement:

Police can confirm they did intercept a woman in North Warrandyte on 2 November in relation to using her mobile phone while driving.  The woman was issued a $496 dollar fine with also incurs four demerit points.  As in any case where a person receives an infringement notice they have the opportunity to have the matter determined by a court, where they will have an opportunity to present their circumstances to a Magistrate.