Statutory Interpretation

Assignment 2 Question

Jimmy is an avid skateboarder. However, he has been captured by the recent excitement surrounding so-called ‘hoverboards’. However, at $1000 each he cannot afford to buy one. Instead he decides to modify his existing skateboard to look like a hoverboard. He achieves this by turning the wheels under the skateboard at right angles so he can ride it like a hoverboard. Jimmy lives next door to a pathway that runs between his house and his neighbour’s property. The pathway is on land that actually belongs to the neighbour, but for at least the last 10 years the local young people have been using this pathway to access the main road from the street behind where Jimmy lives. Jimmy also finds the pathway is useful for skateboarding as it is on a steep incline.

Jimmy decides to try his modified ‘hoverboard’ out on the pathway. However, the neighbour whose house adjoins the pathway will have none of this. Enraged he confronts Jimmy and tells him that while his skateboarding down the path disturbed him, this new fashion for hoverboards was just really annoying as it was based on crass commercialisation. “Back to the Future was a really great movie, but this sudden interest in hoverboards does it no justice” the neighbour says. “This keeps me awake at night.”

The neighbour contacts the Local Council who investigate and decide that Jimmy may be in breach of the Local Government Act 1993 (NSW), section 633A which states:

“633A Use of skateboards, roller blades and roller skates

A person who, in a public place, uses skating equipment so as to obstruct, annoy, inconvenience or cause danger to any other person in that place is guilty of an offence.”

The summons he is served with states that he has in a public place, used skating equipment so as to annoy or inconvenience another person.

Has Jimmy committed an offence under this section?

You may assume that no regulations have been made that impact on the section being considered, but you should consider other sections of the Local Government Act that affect the interpretation of words in the Act as well as the principles of statutory interpretation you have studied so far.

Hint: begin by breaking the section into its constituent parts. For an offence to be committed all parts of an offence must be proved.

Referencing style that the assessment must comply with: Australian Guide to Legal Citation.

 

Length: 1500 words (The word count excludes all footnotes unless some footnotes go beyond providing references and instead contain discussion).

 

Assessment type:        Statutory Interpretation

 

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