How Coast motorist fought the law and won

DISMISSED: Ivan Bortic, 34, leaves Maroochydore Court House.
DISMISSED: Ivan Bortic, 34, leaves Maroochydore Court House. Tessa Mapstone

A COAST driver who refused to hand over his drivers licence to a police officer and said he had a "free right to travel" has had charges against him dismissed.

Outside Maroochydore Magistrates Court today Ivan Bortic, 34, would not say why he refused to show his drivers licence, but he was pleased with the court's decision.

"I put my faith in the law and the law was upheld today, so happy with that," he said.

"There's more to the story that wasn't revealed today."

Despite Acting Magistrate Dean Wilkins describing Mr Bortic's defence against a charge of contravening a police direction as "flimsy", he dismissed the charge because of a "slip up" by a police officer.

When Senior Constable Sperling pulled Mr Bortic over on Maroochydore Rd on January 29 and asked to see his drivers' licence Mr Bortic handed him a document and asked him to read it.

A 37-second back and forth between driver and police officer ensued, in which Sen Const Sperling said "I direct you to produce your Queensland drivers licence or interstate drivers licence or you'll be charged or arrested".

Mr Bortic said he did "not consent".

He was arrested, and charged with contravening a police direction, and two counts of failing to provide a specimen of breath or blood for analysis.

Mr Bortic contested the charges.

Mr Wilkins said Mr Bortic had not complied with directions given to him by Sen Const Sperling, but found the officer had not correctly warned Mr Bortic that if he did not produce his drivers licence he could be arrested, as was required by the Police Powers and Responsibilities Act.

"In the words used by the officer he did not say 'it is an offence to fail to comply without reasonable excuse and that you may be arrested'," Mr Wilkins said.

"He certainly informed him he would be arrested for failing to comply; he did not mention it was an offence.

"And for the benefit of the defended, or his fortune, the officer by the omission of those few words has not put himself in a position to be able to prosecute this offence."

Mr Wilkins said the officer was operating under pressure.

"The recalcitrant attitude of the defendant probably did not assist the officer in choosing his words in the correct form and is fortunate that the officer has not used correct terminology when giving the direction," he said.

All the charges against Mr Bortic were dismissed, but he will have to cover his own legal costs.

When lawyer Justin Sibley asked to address Mr Wilkins in relation to costs he was shut down immediately.

"I would not even entertain costs in the circumstances," Mr Wilkins said

"It's a very flimsy defence which you've got away with, or the defendant has, and it's just a slip up on the part of the officer."

Topics:  editors picks ivan bortic maroochydore magistrates court

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