Toowoomba Courthouse
Toowoomba Courthouse Bev Lacey

When guilty pleas aren't really guilty pleas

NOT for the first time a Toowoomba magistrate has been left shaking her head when dealing with defendants admitting to relatively minor traffic offences.

Magistrate Kay Ryan's patience was again tested when going through a series of "written pleas of guilty" regarding a range of traffic matters this week.

As long as they accept blame, defendants can provide a written plea of guilty to relatively minor traffic offences saving them from having to appear in court in person.

However, as Ms Ryan noted, though the defendant enters a plea of guilty in writing, some attach pages of written explanations more or less saying that they're not really guilty.

"I just wish someone would say 'Yes, I did it'," Ms Ryan told police prosecutor Sergeant Natalie Bugden.

One truck driver who had entered a plea of guilty in writing had attached a three-page letter of explanation.

"Does Your Honour have a three-page letter on file," Sgt Bugden asked Magistrate Ryan.

"No, I don't," Ms Ryan replied, prompting the prosecutor to hand up said letter.

"Oh, I'll have to read this into the record now," Ms Ryan said, shaking her head.

In the letter, read aloud by Ms Ryan, the truck driver admitted seeing a police car pull up at traffic lights in Newtown but appeared surprised when the same police unit pulled him over after seeing the truck go through a red light.

The truckie complained that the "male police officer" had been "rude" to him and had sarcastically told him that he too was a truck driver and that the offending truckie could have stopped his truck in time.

One might expect another letter to arrive at the court after the truck driver receives his fine in the mail along with a bill for $105 cost of summons from the court.