Local man found not guilty of hindering charges

Local man Trevor Johnson has recently had a win for the "little guy", after receiving a not-guilty verdict from the Whyalla Magistrates Court for hindering charges.

On January 25, 2013, Mr Johnson was arrested and taken to the Whyalla police station for obstructing a police officer who was attempting to search his vehicle for detectable faults.

Mr Johnson was pulled over in his sedan on suspicion of breaching vehicle safety standards.

In evidence given by the police officers, Mr Johnson's vehicle had appeared "dirty" and raised the suspicion that the vehicle may have been used bush driving, and therefore provided further suspicion of damage due to harsh bush terrain.

In court, Mr Johnson said his vehicle would have appeared as dirty as a typical car would given Whyalla's climate conditions.

Mr Johnson was going to the post office to check his mail at about 9.50am on the Friday, when he was pulled over by police in the Westland Shopping Centre car park.

Mr Johnson said he was not told of the suspicion of the dirty vehicle when the police asked to conduct defect checks on his car.

Therefore, he did not want to comply with police requests as he believed they had wrongfully targeted him.

After a heated debate, Mr Johnson locked his vehicle and walked away from the scene as to avoid further argument, and he did not believe the police officers had reasonable suspicion to conduct a check on his vehicle.

The police then followed him into Westland Shopping Centre and arrested him on hindering charges.

While Mr Johnson was arrested and placed in a cell at the Whyalla police station, the police continued to conduct the inspection of his vehicle.

The only defect the officers were able to locate on the sedan was a missing compliance plate on the vehicle's gas tank, which would not have been a result of bush driving therefore disproving their initial suspicion.

Mr Johnson later discovered his vehicle was in fact fitted with the correct compliance plate after later contacting his gas manufacturer.

Mr Johnson said he felt victimised by the police and did not believe they had reasonable suspicion to pull him over in the beginning of the incident.

In court, the magistrate expressed the result of examination discovered the only defect on the vehicle was the lack of an expiry date (compliance plate) on the gas tank.

Mr Johnson said he was pleased with the not-guilty verdict and hoped it might help others in similar situations.

"Hopefully people might realise that they do have rights and they should look into them further," he said.

Eyre and Western Local Service Area Operations Inspector Andrew Thiele said the police accepted the Whyalla Magistrates Court's outcome.

"Police accept the court's outcome." Inspector Thiele said.

"However, public expectations are that we enforce road safety.

"Part of this is ensuring vehicles are roadworthy.

"We make no apologies for enforcing standards on the roads and expect people to comply with police directions."

NOT GUILTY: Local man Trevor Johnson had a recent win for the little guy after he was found not guilty for hindering charges.

NOT GUILTY: Local man Trevor Johnson had a recent win for the little guy after he was found not guilty for hindering charges.