An elderly Melbourne couple who were fined $370 for dropping a lollipop wrapper from a car on February 28 say they were falsely folded by someone with a grudge.
A complete stranger accused Kim Tran, 74, of littering and now, with very weak evidence, the Environmental Protection Authority (EPA) is making Tran’s life hell.
She and her husband Pham say the alleged evidence, a picture of a wrapper on the ground but with no person visible, amounts to nothing and is her accuser’s word against her.
Her daughter, also named Kim, is a full-time caregiver for her parents and said they can’t pay the $370 fine for littering earlier this month.
In the 2021-2022 fiscal year, the EPA issued more than $3.7 million in fines for litter in Victoria alone.
Elderly Melbourne couple Pham and Kim Tran (pictured), who were fined $370 for dropping a lollipop wrapper from a car, say they were falsely folded by someone with a grudge.
‘I just couldn’t imagine her doing it. At home it is spotlessly clean,’ said Kim Tran. a current affair Thursday.
We cannot speak of an individual case that is still active. Tickets for littering violations are the result of eyewitness reports.
Anyone can report a vehicle littering violation. Once a member of the public reports an incident, the case can proceed with or without photographic or video evidence.
As stated very clearly in the reporting process, when an alleged littering offense is reported, if the matter goes to court, EPA will require the complainant to be available to appear.
The registered owner of the reported vehicle is then issued a ticket and given options on how to contest or dispute the ticket or nominate someone who may have been responsible for the offense of littering.
Those options include requesting an internal review of your case in which EPA will consider the matter on its merits.
If the matter goes to court, the alleged offender and the person who reported them will be able to present their testimony so that they have a full opportunity to present their case and their circumstances.
The EPA website has all the information about the littering violation process and how to contest a littering charge.
His parents are Vietnamese immigrants who have lived in West Melbourne for 32 years.
They both have diabetes and high blood pressure made worse by stress.
“It’s hard to believe, it’s hard to accept, ‘that someone folded them,’ he said.
When 82-year-old war veteran Tran received a letter in the mail accusing his passenger, who was his wife Kim, of littering from a car window, he said he couldn’t believe it.
Trans people believe they have been attacked by someone with a grudge, who made false reports to the EPA.
They do not deny that it is their car in the photo, but they do deny that they are bugs.
His daughter Kim said that her parents ‘love this country and this is our home. They would never do that, they would not break a law or litter.’
She is helping them with the paperwork, but their only options are to pay the fine, request an internal EPA review, or take it to court.
Attorney Justin Lawrence said the evidence from the packaging will never hold up in court.
‘That could be a path anywhere, it could be a path, it could be the playground of my children’s elementary school.
“There is simply no evidence that the person accused of littering his car did that,” the Henderson and Ball lawyer said.
Lawrence said people can submit reports to the EPA anonymously, like the one that is causing so much conflict among trans people.
People with a grudge could use the process to target someone else, he said.
“I cannot imagine that any court in the country would be satisfied with the back of two photographs, neither of which show the defendant.”
The EPA said that if a person files a littering report, then they must be willing to attend court as a witness to the incident.
But the consequences if the complainant fails to appear in court is hardly a sufficient deterrent against false allegations.
“If you refuse to be a witness in court, we may not accept any future reports of your trash,” the EPA website says.
Trans people have until March 28 to pay the $370 fine or contest it. If they do not do so by the due date, $26.60 will be added to your bill and a penalty reminder notice will be issued.
The only evidence against the Trans is a photo of a lollipop wrapper (pictured) on the ground, with no one visible next to it.