FINED: Max Tierney is fuming after copping a parking fine he says was a result of the sun.
FINED: Max Tierney is fuming after copping a parking fine he says was a result of the sun. Brett Wortman

Sun struck 61yo uni student fights 'unfair' parking fine

A UNIVERSITY student is prepared to take his fight to court after copping a parking fine for an error he says was caused by the sun.

University of the Sunshine Coast mature-age student Max Tierney, 61, says he was stung with a $36 fine on Monday morning, because he'd entered an incorrect digit of his numberplate into the parking meter at car park 7.

He says the blazing morning sun had made it impossible for him to read the screen, and he was entering the information "by memory", which was why he'd entered one digit incorrectly.

Mr Tierney said he'd paid the $3 at about 9.30am for four hours of parking.

His lecture wrapped up just after 10.30am and he discovered he'd been fined when he arrived at his car.

"It's a lot of money when you're a student and on the dole," the first-year environmental science student said.

"You can't read the screen (when the sun shone on it).

"It's not right, it's just not right."


PARKING: Paid parking on the university campus.
PARKING: Paid parking on the university campus. Brett Wortman

He said the same thing had happened earlier this year and the fine had been waived without an issue, but he'd had no luck this time around with the Sunshine Coast Council in having his fine reversed.

He said other parking meters had been fitted with sun guards, to make screens easier to use, but this particular one he used on Monday had no sun guard.

Mr Tierney said he was told it was basically a matter of bad luck and that an incorrect number was not a valid reason to waive the fine.

He was now worried that if his withdrawal application fails, the fine would be handed straight to the State Penalties Enforcement Registry and his licence would be suspended.

"I feel like I'm in a catch-22," the Marcoola resident said.

"The whole thing sort of rubs me the wrong way, the fact they (council) spoke to me the way they did.

"When they accepted the money they're renting me a parking spot. If the rego isn't quite right on their paperwork, what does it matter?"

He said he was prepared to "fight it" and had requested the council advise him if the fine is upheld as he would like to challenge it in court.

"I'd actually paid the parking fee," Mr Tierney said.

"It's not like I was trying to dodge it."

The University's parking information page says the car parking operates on a ticketless system, where "payment is cross-checked against your vehicle's registration number when on campus, so there is no need to print or display a ticket or permit".

"Sunshine Coast Council parking inspectors enforce parking regulations on campus and in the surrounding streets, and issue infringement notices," the website reads.

The Sunshine Coast Council's website states infringement notices can be withdrawn if incorrect details have been recorded in issuing the fine, in the event of a medical emergency, or a vehicle malfunction.

All withdrawal requests must be submitted via the special council form and all supportive evidence and statutory declarations must be attached.

Requests for withdrawal must be submitted within 28 days of the fine and applicants will receive a letter advising of the outcome.

The Daily has contacted the council about Mr Tierney's matter and will update with its response.

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