An Australian man who values his freedom of speech spent $71,000 exercising his right to contest a $180 speeding ticket.
Mustafa Al Shakarji, who immigrated to Australia with his family from Iraq in 2002, is battling a $180 speeding ticket he received back in March 2012. After moving to a country with significantly less government corruption and social unrest, Shakarji felt it his duty to stand firm against injustice.
According to 9News, Shakarji has so far spent $71,000 in legal court fees for the case that is still ongoing. He said to the news site back in 2011:
“In Iraq I couldn’t stand up to speak out, but here you can when you don’t think it’s right, so why wouldn’t you?”
Back in 2011, Shakarji had successfully fought another ticket he felt was unfair. In the case, Shakarji used Google Earth images to argue that the police had penalized the wrong car.
As for the most recent ticket, police claimed Shakarji was driving 88 kilometers per hour in a 60 kph zone (or 55 miles per hour in a 37 mph speed zone). However, Shakarji said definitively:
“I was not speeding, absolutely.”
Radar expert Roy Zegers told 9News that the installation of the police radar was improperly done and that there were discrepancies in the readings. According to Zegers:
“Devices should not be used in a heavily built up area and in this case it was an extremely heavily built up area.
“The whole operation by the operator of the device comes into question because you are now using a device outside the guidelines.”
The radar was mounted in the wrong location, as police video shows the radar on top of a steering wheel column rather than a dashboard. Shakarji also has footage of the traffic stop, which he filmed using his watch.
Zegers estimates that the plaintiff has spent nearly $71,000 on the case and has represented himself at five hearings. Police appealed the appeal he initially won and the case is ongoing.
Though his family thinks he is going overboard and should pay the fine, Shakarji believes it is more a matter of principle than it is money. Prior to his next court day, he said:
“I am sure, 100%, finally justice will be served.”
Shakarji isn’t backing down and said he is willing to bring the case all the way to Australia’s High Court.