Some allegations are just too outrageous to believe, aren't they! Take that levelled in a letter in the Herald last week by Vincent Phelan, of Belmont. Mr Phelan told how two days earlier in King St Newcastle he'd seen a young woman get out of her car, go to a ticket machine and return to her car to find a Newcastle council parking ranger writing out a fine. He told also how he'd seen the ranger watch the girl leave her car and go to the ticket machine before he started writing the infringement notice. Mr Phelan described how the young woman had rushed back to her car waving the ticket, how he'd intervened to support the young woman, but the infringement was issued.
My inclination is that this is too outrageous to believe, or at least it would be if I did not know Vincent Phelan, a retired teacher who's been the subject of my column and this blog as a director of the pro-euthanasia organisation Exit International. He tells me he is prepared to sign a statutory declaration detailing his account.
I asked Newcastle City Council for its response and an explanation, and also how it ensures that a driver is not in the process of buying a parking ticket when its parking ranger issues a fine. After a bit of toing and froing the council told me its compliance officer had checked the ticket machine, that the driver was not at it, and that the young woman had returned waving not a parking ticket but money.
Mr Phelan says he is pretty sure she had a ticket, although he can't be certain because he didn't take it from her and read it, and that he is certain that she had been at the ticket machine.
I suspect there's an explanation that will fit both accounts, and hopefully we'll hear from the young woman herself. Regardless, it's an $88 reason for this young person to avoid Newcastle's CBD.
Have you copped an unfair parking fine? Does the risk of a fine deter you from visiting Newcastle?