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MP pro bono work angers police

MP pro bono work angers police

A Queensland MP and barrister provided pro bono representation which helped his client avoid conviction for traffic offences and angered police prosecutors.Member for Murrumba and former…

A Queensland MP and barrister provided pro bono representation which helped his client avoid conviction for traffic offences and angered police prosecutors.

Member for Murrumba and former attorney-general Dean Wells appeared in Redcliffe's Magistrate Court on Tuesday to defend Nathan Kirby, who had pleaded guilty to driving on a suspended licence.

Kirby lost his licence in May 2009 because of an unpaid traffic fine but had previously had his licence suspended by the State Penalties Enforcement Registry (SPER) after accumulating demerit points.

In July, Kirby was stopped while driving but told police he was not aware his licence had been suspended again by the SPER. He received a warning not to drive but was intercepted 15 minutes later and arrested.

Wells argued that the police prosecution amounted to an "abuses of process" for pursuing such a "trivial matter" and agreed to represent Kirby because he was "a law-abiding citizen and a previous victim of crime", reported The Courier Mail.

"The consequences of losing his licence for a month, which is what the legislation requires, means he would've lost one or both of his jobs," Wells said.

"Police don't have the discretion to let an unlicensed driver go - but they do have the discretion not to prosecute."

An anonymous officer told The Courier Mail that Magistrate Alan Taylor's decision to discharge the matter was "blatantly ridiculous".

"Millions of dollars are owed to SPER and now one of the Government's own members is helping offenders avoid paying fines," the officer said.

Wells has provided pro-bono representation to two other constituents and had been advised by the Integrity Commissioner that his legal work was not a conflict of interest.

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MP pro bono work angers police
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