Farmer still fighting rate payment
DORRIGO rates campaigner Terry Martin is carrying the fight to the enemy, accusing Bellingen Shire Council of “theft by statute”.
He said he would take further action by issuing a writ of mandamus, taking civil action against the council to recover the money paid for services he did not receive.
His efforts to have his documents signed by a court registrar at Coffs Harbour yesterday were thwarted.
He said courthouse staff refused to make an appointment for him with a registrar.
Instead, they advised him to consult Law Access NSW.
Mr Martin said the absence of a chamber magistrate meant there was no longer any legal advice available and ordinary citizens were shut out from the legal system and the courts, a situation exacerbated by political interference.
Mr Martin said he would now deem the documents to have been presented and would post them to the council, Bellingen Court House and NSW Premier Kristina Kenneally.
Mr Martin refuses to pay council rates on the basis that they are taxes, and local government has no legal right to impose taxes, which the Constitution reserves for the Federal Government.
The Snows Road farmer says his rates are not a fee for service, because he receives no services.
He is being pursued by Bellingen Shire Council for unpaid rates as a result of his campaign.
“Everywhere I go they tell me I have to get a solicitor,” Mr Martin said.
“Yesterday they told me to see the local member (of parliament).”
Mr Martin was recently issued with a summons to attend Bellingen court to discuss his financial affairs, but he said when he and a witness arrived, on the appointed date and time, the courthouse was closed and the only other person waiting was a man who appeared confused about his role in the matter and who left hastily when questioned.
Sympathiser and supporter John Karnau said Mr Martin had since received a second “very strange” summons with no name and an illegible signature, which appeared to have been constructed on a home printer.
“Can you be issued with a summons after you have attended an appointment at court and the court is closed?” Mr Karnau said.
“It appears as though Mr Martin is being goaded to be in contempt of court.”
Mandamus is a judicial remedy, which is in the form of an order from a superior court, to any government subordinate court, corporation or public authority to do, or forbear from doing, some specific act which that body is obliged under law to do or refrain from doing and which is in the nature of public duty and in certain cases of a statutory duty.