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NSW drug law overhaul

A New Hope for Recreational Drug Users?

A New Hope for Recreational Drug Users? People caught with minor amounts of illicit substances might soon breathe a sigh of relief. A new legislative proposal in the NSW Parliament offers an alternative to criminal penalties for personal drug possession. The twist? Offenders could “work off” their fines by seeking help. ‘Two-Strike’ Policy – The two-strike scheme may allow thousands of recreational users of drugs like ice, cocaine, and MDMA to sidestep criminal repercussions. – This approach is designed to shift the police’s focus from users to dealers and ensure users get the help they need to steer clear of long-term drug habits. – If passed, adults found with small quantities of drugs might receive a criminal infringement notice: a $400 fine. But there’s a way out. By undertaking a “tailored drug and alcohol intervention,” they can have their fine annulled. No intervention? Revenue NSW will come knocking for the fine. – Health Minister Ryan Park emphasizes this as an “evidence-based” strategy, aligning drug use and dependency more as health concerns rather than criminal offences. – However, this leniency won’t extend to drug trafficking, manufacturing, or those with prior dealing convictions. For the police, it’s not just about handing out fines. Police Minister Yasmin Catley elaborates that the proposed system would result in “better outcomes for low-level drug offending without compromising safety.” The on-the-spot fine isn’t obligatory, and police can still opt for court proceedings if deemed necessary.   NSW Drug Law Overhaul While this overhaul brings NSW more in line with other Australian states, it doesn’t come without its share of debates. The law aims to address the broader issues surrounding drug usage and its societal impacts, but there are concerns about the government’s commitment to drug reforms. In an ever-evolving legal landscape, it’s crucial to understand how these changes might impact you or those you know. As always, if you have questions or concerns related to these legal changes, Jameson Law is here to guide you through it.

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Fitness Feud

Breaking a Sweat Over Business: The Fitness Feud of the Decade

Breaking a Sweat Over Business: The Fitness Feud of the Decade Aussie fitness sensation Cass Olholm isn’t just breaking a sweat in her workouts but also in court! Flexing her legal muscles, Cass recently delivered a knockout punch to her former employer, Bikini Body Training Company. In the red corner, we have the globally recognized Bikini Body Training Company. They were concerned that Cass’s new app, “Train With Cass,” launching this Thursday, might have subscribers sprinting away from their reigning champ, the “Sweat” program. In numbers? They feared a possible $1 million drop in revenue. A Breach of the “Restraint of Trade” Clauses In the blue corner, the rising star Cass Olholm, was gearing up to launch her app. However, the Bikini Body brand, founded by fitness mogul Kayla Itsines but now under the U.S. flag, threw in a legal jab aiming to block her launch. Their argument? A breach of the “restraint of trade” clauses. But as every good fitness enthusiast knows, it’s not about the punches you throw, but the ones you can take and keep moving. Judge Jack Costello handed the victory to Cass, allowing her to roll out her app immediately. He stated that Bikini Body couldn’t prove they had a “legitimate commercial interest” to protect, or that their 12-month restraint period was even reasonable. Ms. Olholm and Ms. Itsines were once the dynamic duo of the fitness world. Cass often graced Ms. Itsines’ Facebook videos post her Bikini Body joining in 2020. Fast forward a bit, and Bikini Body claims a whopping $65 million in revenue each year. Meanwhile, “Train With Cass” offers its fitness secrets for $21.99 a month or a yearly commitment of $139.99. Nicholas Swan, defending Bikini Body, argued that Ms. Olholm’s dazzling fitness “aura” shouldn’t be used to pump up a rival business within the 12-month clause. On the flip side, Thomas Macfarlane, coming to bat for Cass, stated it’s a stretch to hold back her goodwill, something she built over years, even before her Bikini Body days. Cass claims her non-compete was for six months, not twelve. Cass believes her fitness journey’s success isn’t just a two or three-year marathon at “Sweat.” Her hard-earned accolades and skills don’t magically disappear post-Sweat. And it seems Judge Costello sided with that logic. Contract Law Experts Sweat Over Contracts, Not Workouts! Navigating the world of contract law can be as tricky as mastering a new fitness routine. Whether you’re a rising star in the fitness world or just want to ensure your contracts are as rock-solid as your abs, Jameson Law has got your back! Dive into the details with us, so your business can flex its muscles confidently.

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speed camera

How One Speed Camera Raked in $1.3M in Just 30 Days

Set against the urban sprawl of Sydney’s Inner West, there stands a sentinel. It’s not an imposing statue or an architectural marvel, but a lone speed camera. Its location? The Westconnex M4 East tunnel at Croydon. In the span of a mere month, this unassuming device caught the fleeting blur of over 2400 speeding drivers, translating to a staggering revenue of $1.3 million in fines. But is this figure a testament to vigilant law enforcement or a reflection of a broader problem? August was a particularly lucrative month for speed cameras in Sydney. Not to be outdone, the Northconnex Tunnel at Normanhurst also had its cash registers ringing, tallying over $398,000 in fines. Moving eastbound on Oxford Street in Darlinghurst, another camera added a significant sum to the coffers. Yet another contender, a camera on Ryde Road heading southbound at West Pymble, was hot on its heels. While these numbers might be music to the ears of city treasurers, for the everyday driver, they strike a more sombre note. Speed cameras, often equipped with red light detection devices, are a double-edged sword. On one hand, they serve as deterrents, promoting safer driving. On the other, they can be seen as pesky reminders of momentary lapses in judgment or attention. Received an infringement notice? A glimmer of hope remains. Many aren’t aware that it’s possible to appeal both speeding and red light camera offences. If you find yourself staring at a notice, remember you have a window of 21 days to lodge your appeal. You can start by reaching out to the State Debt Recovery Office (SDRO) before taking the matter to court. If curiosity gets the better of you and you wish to see the exact moment the camera caught you, you can obtain a copy of the photograph – for a fee, of course. At Jameson Law, we understand that sometimes, speed cameras can catch even the most law-abiding drivers off-guard. If you ever find yourself in a tangle with traffic infringements, remember we’re just a call away, ready to guide you through the maze of legalities. Because in a world where a single camera can generate over a million dollars in a month, it’s good to know you’re not navigating the road alone. Drive safe, Sydney!

How One Speed Camera Raked in $1.3M in Just 30 Days Read More »

tiktok tax fraud

TikTok Trend Takes Australia for a $1.2 Billion Ride

TikTok is known for its myriad dance challenges and lip-syncing teens, and the last thing one might expect is for it to be the platform responsible for one of the biggest tax scams in Australia’s history. In a shocking revelation, the Australian Tax Office (ATO) admitted to being duped out of a whopping $1.2 billion in fraudulent GST claims. All because a few “financial influencers” on TikTok thought they’d found a cheeky “loan” scheme from the government. It seems that at least 56,000 TikTok enthusiasts found the allure of making an extra dollar or twenty thousand too tempting to resist. With sly whispers and winks, a fraudulent GST scheme spread like wildfire across the platform. A quick tutorial here, a ad hack there, and voila! You had yourself a community-wide tax con. H&R Block’s Mark Chapman gave perhaps the most befuddled response of us all, “It’s incredibly straightforward and incredibly fraudulent.” One could almost imagine him shaking his head, adding, “Kids these days, right?” But it’s not just the youngsters at play. Organized crime groups, including biker gangs, were in on this dance challenge. However, instead of dance moves, they were moving large sums of fraudulent money. Of course, as in every heist movie, the law comes knocking. Operation Protego has been the ATO’s answer, stopping a further $2.7 billion from joining the fraud party and arresting over 100 suspects. ATO Deputy Commissioner and Chief of the Serious Financial Crime Taskforce Will Day gave a stern warning to those still in the shadows, saying, “Face the music now or face even tougher consequences later.” If there’s one thing we’ve learned, it’s that not everything you see on TikTok is a good idea. A new dance craze? Go for it. But tax fraud? Maybe not the best move. If you’re sitting there, nervously recalling that time you thought jumping on the TikTok tax bandwagon seemed like a good idea, or worse, your ID got caught up in this mess without your knowledge, it’s not the end of the road. Have you found yourself unintentionally tangled in this GST scam, possibly due to stolen identity information or other misguidance? Don’t face the music alone. Reach out to Jameson Law. We’re here to help you navigate the complexities and set things right. Remember, a viral dance trend lasts a week, but your financial records last a lifetime.

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influencers vs restaurant

Influencers vs. Restaurant: Lobster, Drama, and a Side of Defamation

Welcome to the world of influencers, where a lobster dinner can lead to a legal hullabaloo that rivals the drama of a reality TV show. Sydney’s Silver Pearl Restaurant finds itself at the epicentre of a heated legal battle involving three food bloggers who have claimed defamation. Jennifer Do, Julie Nguyen, and Belinda Nguyen are seeking reparation after being accused of a dubious dine-and-dash. The Main Course: The Charges On a fateful Christmas Day, these influencers bit off more than they could chew—literally. They enjoyed a lobster dinner but paused the culinary experience to voice their grievances: the lobster was allegedly frozen and not the fresh, high-calibre crustacean they expected. When the influencers left without paying the bill, the restaurant took to Instagram, attempting to slide into their DMs for a peaceful resolution. The influencers, perhaps following the age-old wisdom of “block and move on,” did just that. To thicken the plot soup, the trio was later spotted at another seafood joint, again diving into a lobster dish. The restaurant, in a spicy retort, shared an Instagram post with evidence of the influencers continuing to munch on their meal post-complaint. ‘Within 24 hours, they have ALL BLOCKED US,’ the post stated. ‘What makes this matter worse, is that after they left us, they went to another seafood restaurant across the road and ordered lobster and wine again! ‘How could anyone eat more of what made them “feel sick”? let alone order another meal.’ The management then publicly named the patrons in their post, indicating the message would stay up for two days as a caution to fellow establishments. ‘Belinda, Julie and Jennifer, we are disappointed with your dishonest and fraudulent behaviour,’ they said. ‘We have hosted many food bloggers before, and none have ever acted this entitled. ‘This is totally classless behaviour, and we hope your reputation was worth tarnishing for $364.’ The Side Dish: Repercussions Our influencers weren’t about to let this slide. With the restaurant’s claims seared into the public domain, they’re charging back with a juicy claim of defamation, insisting their reputations are now toast. Justice Robert Bromwich, probably more used to dry legal scripts than this flavoursome saga, hinted that the legal costs might rival the price of a small yacht, or at least a whole lot of lobsters: likely to be no less than $500,000, but could be closer to $1 million. Dessert: Broader Implications This case serves a full platter of lessons on the dynamics between businesses and influencers in today’s digital age. It’s a world where a tweet can tickle, a post can provoke, and an online spat can spiral into a courtroom drama. Digestif: Words from Jameson Law Defamation cases require a delicate balance of legal expertise and an understanding of the nuances of the digital world. Jameson Law, with its wealth of experience in such matters, believes in the importance of ensuring that reputations are defended robustly and judiciously. In an age where a single post can echo indefinitely, it’s crucial to have seasoned experts on your side, guiding you every step of the way. If you find yourself in a situation where your reputation is on the line, remember: the expertise of a seasoned law firm can be invaluable.

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Flight MH122

Malaysia Airlines Flight MH122: Drama in the Sky & the Fallout

On a routine flight from Sydney to Kuala Lumpur, passengers on Malaysia Airlines flight MH122 were thrust into a state of unease when a man’s alarming behaviour forced the plane to divert back to its point of departure. About thirty minutes into the flight, Muhammad Arif, a 45-year-old former Pakistani model and actor, rose from his seat and began disrupting the calm ambience of the cabin. Passengers recount that Arif, before the outbreak of his aggressive behaviour, drew attention by praying aloud. To many, it was initially perceived as a benign act of faith. However, the situation escalated when he began pushing and shoving fellow passengers, making implications of possessing explosives in his backpack. Arif’s exclamations, “My name is Mohammed, slave of Allah,” have since echoed through various media outlets, further fueling public interest and concern. Given the immediate threat, the pilot made the decision, underpinning the “interests of safety,” to return the flight to Sydney. Malaysia Airlines affirmed in a statement that the “safety and comfort of our crew and passengers are of utmost importance.” Upon landing in Sydney, the plane was greeted by an entourage of emergency services. Passengers were confined within the aircraft for almost three hours, amplifying their distress. Notably, Velutha Parambath, one of the passengers, highlighted that the uncertainties were further exacerbated by real-time news, suggesting a potential bomb threat on the aircraft. New South Wales Police Commissioner, Karen Webb, defending the delay, emphasized that ensuring passengers’ safety is paramount and the situation required a meticulous approach. The incident had a ripple effect on air travel, with 32 domestic flights cancelled and delays of up to 90 minutes for other flights departing from Sydney Airport. The Legal Consequences: Upon the flight’s emergency landing, Arif was swiftly taken into custody, facing charges of making a false statement regarding a threat to damage an aircraft and failing to obey cabin crew safety instructions. In Australian law, such accusations carry severe consequences. Making a false statement about a threat to an aircraft is a grave offence that can lead to a maximum of 10 years in prison. Meanwhile, not complying with crew safety instructions can incur a fine of over 15,000 Australian dollars ($7,300). As the case unfolds, Arif’s defence cites his mental health as a significant factor, emphasizing that he was “not in the right state of mind.” This defence highlights the intricate relationship between criminal behaviour and mental health, and how legal proceedings often require nuanced expertise to navigate these complexities. Arif now faces charges of making a false statement about a threat to damage an aircraft and failing to comply with cabin crew safety instructions. If convicted, he could face up to 10 years in prison and a hefty fine. The court proceedings have been temporarily halted, as Arif’s defence lawyer cites his “serious mental issues” and current mental state as reasons for his client’s non-participation.

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Workplace Safety

A Defective Woodchipper, a Tragedy, and a Record Fine: The High Stakes of Workplace Safety in NSW

In an incident that’s nothing short of harrowing, a tree removal company in New South Wales has faced a record-breaking court-imposed fine of over $2 million following the tragic death of a worker. Setting the scene on a school ground in Lindfield, Sydney’s north, in September 2019, workers from A1 Arbor Tree Services were busy with routine tree removal tasks. As branches were fed into a woodchipper, a devastating accident occurred. A 40-year-old Fijian national was fatally drawn into the equipment, with catastrophic results. What makes this incident even more heart-wrenching is the series of oversights that led up to it. Court hearings shed light on the company’s lack of a risk assessment for the woodchipping equipment, which was found to be riddled with defects. But the chain of negligence didn’t stop there. The court also unveiled a concerning lack of supervision for workers and, even more alarming, no proper training provided to them on how to safely operate the machinery. The company pleaded guilty to failing to comply with its safety obligations under the Work Health and Safety Act. Such grave oversights couldn’t escape the eyes of the NSW District Court. Recognising the extreme foreseeable harm to the worker, Judge Wendy Sue Strathdee delivered the verdict – a landmark fine of $2.025 million, the heftiest for a business in NSW’s history. Work Health and Safety Minister, Sophie Cotsis, echoed the sentiments of many, labelling the incident as “shocking” and “completely avoidable”. Extending her condolences, she emphasised, “The lives of workers must be priority number one. No excuses, no exceptions.” This landmark conviction, she warned, puts businesses across NSW on stern notice. As we await any potential appeals from A1 Arbor, one thing becomes undeniably clear: workplace safety isn’t just another checkbox. It’s a mandate, the importance of which has been underscored, albeit tragically, by this incident. When safety guidelines are skirted, and training becomes an afterthought, the results can be catastrophic. At Jameson Law, we firmly believe in the paramount importance of workplace safety and are always here to guide you through any related legal complexities.

A Defective Woodchipper, a Tragedy, and a Record Fine: The High Stakes of Workplace Safety in NSW Read More »

currency 2

Minimum wage earners to get pay rise

Australia’s minimum wage earners to get $40 a week pay rise The Fair Work Commissions has ruled that Australia’s minimum wage will be increased by 5.2%, lifting minimum wages by at least $40 a week.  Noting a ‘sharp increase in the cost of living’, the commission has ruled that the hourly pay be lifted from $20.33 to $21.38. This decision, handed down in the annual wage review, will come into effect from 1 July, except for the aviation, tourism and hospitality sectors. Because of the slower recovery of these sectors, which are among those badly affected by the Covid recession, the increase will be delayed to 1 October. Prime Minister Anthony Albanese welcomed the decision, tweeting: “We welcome the Fair Work Commission’s announcement of a $1.05 an hour pay rise for Australians on the minimum wage. This is great news, but it’s just the beginning. We have more work to do [to] make sure more Australians can get ahead and have real economic security.” On the other hand, Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry CEO Andrew McKellar expressed worry that the increase posed a “very significant risk” to the economy. “By our calculations, this will add $7.9 billion in costs to the affected businesses over the year ahead, so that will be a very considerable burden that those businesses will either have to take to their bottom line, or pass onto their customers,” he said. “It comes at a time when inflation is emerging as one of the most urgent challenges facing the Australian economy and if we are to address that, if we are to remain competitive, then, clearly, this is not a decision that will help in those circumstances.

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england flag with vote

Anzac Weekend, Federal Elections, and the Right to Protest

  In an already turbulent year, the Prime Minister has called a Federal Election. Federal Elections take place every four years. The Federal Election has been set for Thursday 21 May 2022. This month we explore: Political opinion Failure to vote The right to protest  Pesky demerit points   Political division on display: Bagging out politicians and political parties is an Olympic sport in Australia. Everyone has an opinion, even those who claim to sit on the fence or not care about politics. Sometimes, people, especially candidates, become so caught up in it all, they take to damaging campaign signage such as corflutes.  Damage to election material may not simply amount to property damage under the Crimes Act 1900 (NSW). It may also be considered a Commonwealth offence under s 37 of the Commonwealth Electoral Act 1918. Section 37 states that a person must not hinder or interfere with the free exercise of or performance, by any other person, of any political right or duty that is relevant to an election, for example, property damage. The maximum penalty under s37 is three years imprisonment, a fine of $21,000 or both. If you have been charged with damaging campaign signage, contact our office for a free initial consultation.       You have to vote. It’s a democracy! Australia, like many of its allies, prides itself on being a democracy. Democracy, demands eligible citizens to elect members of the parliament on the understanding that those members represent the interests of the citizens. The problem arises when there are no candidates who represent the interests of the citizens. Section 245 of the Commonwealth Electoral Act 1918 states it is an offence to fail to vote in an election unless you have a valid and sufficient reason, for example, incapacitation due to illness or injury. The maximum penalty for this offence is $210.00. It is not enough to simply attend the polling both on the day and have your name marked off. You MUST complete and submit the ballot paper. It is essential to remember that not all candidates will represent your every interest. However, if you fail to vote, it’s unfair to complain about the outcome. If you have been fined for failing to vote, contact our office for a free initial  consultation.                 Having your voice heard: Protesting is one of the many ways citizens can express their political concerns. It is a right that stems as far back as the Magna Carter and is protected by the Australian Constitution. While protesting is a legal form of political expression, there are laws and rule around how protests are to be conducted safely for example the Summary Offences Act 1988 (NSW), Inclosed Lands Protection Act 1901 (NSW), etc. Climate change and COVID have brought this method of political communication to the forefront of everyone’s attention. Of late, we have witnessed everything from truck conveys along major highways to people climbing the Harbour Bridge and shutting down major road networks. This has prompted the State Government to enact legislation further tightening the conduct of protesters. The Roads and Crimes Legislation Amendment Bill 2022 has been tabled in Parliament in an effort to prevent protesters from causing disruption to major roads, ports and train stations. If passed, the maximum penalty would be two years imprisonment, $20,000 fine or both. While it is important to ensure protests are conducted safely, it will be interesting to see its application. If you have been arrested while protesting, contact our office for a free initial consultation.     That old chestnut: The Easter long weekend not only brings a chance for a much-needed break, it also brings double demerits. With more people escaping the city for the first time since lock downs hit our shores, there is a real risk of complacency on the roads and an even greater risk of losing your licence. Double demerit points were introduced in 1997 as part of an Easter road safety campaign in response to a significant increase in road fatalities. The campaign has expanded over the years to include every long weekend. This April, double demerits are in play from 16 April to 18 April (Easter weekend) and 22 April to 25 April (ANZAC weekend). Double demerits apply to speeding, seat belts, motorcycle helmets and mobile phone offences. For example, if you have been caught using your mobile phone over the long weekend, you risk losing 10 demerit points. An unrestricted licence holder in NSW has 13 points. If you have already lost points, a targeted double demerit offence may mean you will lose your licence. If you have been fined for a double demerit offence, contact our office for a free initial consultation.               Financing options now available: Can’t pay your legal fees? No worries. Now you can pay your next legal bill over 10 weeks, interest-free, with RapidPay’s buy now, pay later payment plans. Access premium legal advice and representation today!      

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