Fined for littering in a bin
By EMILY WATT - The Dominion Post
Saturday, 28 July 2007
A Wellington man who decided to clean out his car while waiting for a kebab was fined $100 for littering - in a rubbish bin.
The man said he took some rubbish from the back of his car and put it in a green council bin outside a kebab shop in Hataitai.
“I assumed, incorrectly as it turns out, that as it was a litter bin I was able to put litter in it,” he said.
Wellington City Council duly sent him a litter infringement notice, which carried a $100 fine.
Under a bylaw passed last year, such a fine will soon increase to $400.
The man said he had no idea that putting a bit of rubbish in a bin was a sin.
He wrote to the council, pointing out the ticket had the wrong address and explaining the circumstances.
"I was unaware that domestic and non-domestic rubbish were categorised differently.
“I understand that lack of knowledge of the law is no excuse. But perhaps for a law that isn’t widely known, a warning would have been more appropriate for a first offence.”
But he reluctantly applauded the detective work needed to identify his crime - requiring a litter officer to sift through the bin for his contact details.
His letter to the council initially had some impact, when an official wrote back thanking him and cancelling the fine - but only because it had been written for the wrong location.
A fresh $100 infringement notice was issued for the correct address.
The council also insisted that his letter was an admission, and could be used against him in court if needed.
The man paid the fine but said others should be warned.
“I have learned my lesson. When throwing rubbish in those green bins, do not include any incriminating correspondence.”
Council spokesman Richard MacLean said that it was investigating the matter.