Hamza's story - ensuring inappropriate fines are waived in a time of crisis
Hamza was referred to IMCL through our partnership with Flagstaff Crisis Accommodation. Homeless and living with mental health issues, Hamza had been trying to create a life for himself in Australia after arriving as a refugee.
But after a series of unresolved fines had lead to a driving suspension, he felt like he could no longer find work. Hamza had become self-destructive and suicidal.
IMCL lawyer, Lloyd Murphy, said that when he first met Hamza he '... expressed despair at not being able to get his life in order in Australia.'
Learning about Hamza's situation, Lloyd recognised that he was experiencing special circumstances and sought a review of the fines and the issuing of demerit points by the police.
Lloyd sees a number of clients who, like Hamza, have been inappropriately caught up in the fines system while experiencing disadvantage or life crises.
'Victoria Police chasing these clients to court after Fines Victoria have already determined that they have special circumstances serves no purpose for community safety or the public interest,' he explains.
With a roof over his head and through the holistic approach taken by his social workers in partnership with IMCL lawyers, Hamza was able to work on getting his life back on track. By the time Lloyd saw him at court, where he was able to finally have his fines withdrawn.
'...he was a completely different person,' says Lloyd.
Without the burden of owing thousands in fines, Hamza has been able to find stability and explore opportunities. He now has accommodation at Ozanam House, and is attending English courses and barista training with a hope to gain employment in the future.