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01/31/2005 11:48:28 PM · #1
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By the look of this gateway, could it be a crime to go inside?

This is the entrance of old Redfern Railway Workshop Yard. There are signs indicating the way to theatre production warehouses inside. The only thing that gives a clue to "no trespassing" is the furthest stand inside, where small, rusty, fading and valdalised signs beneath the "WASTE DUMPING PROHIBITED" says:

NO ENTRY
KEEP OUT
AUTHORIZED PERSONNEL ONLY

I wonder who would not disregard all the confusing signs.

I took these photos as evidence of ambiguous signs, because Railcorp Transit Officers issued me with a fine for the offence of "Go/be on Railway Land" on 14 December 2004.

This is actually one my favorite locations in Sydney and the workshop will soon be demolished as part of a redevelopment plan by Redfern-Waterloo Authority. Check out the photos I took on the day in my Corrode Series:
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I had been there before for a number of times without any warnings from anyone about the infringement.
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It's a popular spot for other photographers too, and people walks their dogs there as well.

Now I am facing AU$400 penalty and have decided to fight it in the local court. Please leave comment on my site for your support. It will be greatly appriciated.

Message edited by ClubJuggle - Changed large image to link.
01/31/2005 11:57:16 PM · #2
There is an old abandoned Alabama & Western repair yard in Montgomery I go to often to get pictures. I have a degree of support from the art community in Montgomery, so if I was arrested I would guess that most judges would probably drop the charges. Perhaps it would help to share your images with your local art community and the local train hobbyists about town to see if you might muster some support in that manner. You never know, the judge's wife might be an philanthropist.
01/31/2005 11:58:39 PM · #3
You've got some great shots there. What I think you should have done is approached them for permission to take photos at these places ... then you would become "authorized personnel". Maybe a bit hard to do after the fact....
.... and showing a portfolio of your pictures could help your cause.

Message edited by author 2005-02-01 00:00:54.
02/01/2005 12:16:36 AM · #4
Originally posted by Pug-H:

You've got some great shots there. What I think you should have done is approached them for permission to take photos at these places ... then you would become "authorized personnel". Maybe a bit hard to do after the fact....
.... and showing a portfolio of your pictures could help your cause.


Yes, I would have got the permission first. The entrance is not clear. To me it's a trap that anyone get in and get fined.

02/01/2005 12:19:19 AM · #5
Originally posted by nsbca7:

...I have a degree of support from the art community in Montgomery, so if I was arrested I would guess that most judges would probably drop the charges. Perhaps it would help to share your images with your local art community and the local train hobbyists about town to see if you might muster some support in that manner. You never know, the judge's wife might be an philanthropist.


Good point. I'm not really sure how that works in NSW tho.
02/01/2005 12:21:09 AM · #6
Originally posted by 'Pong:

Yes, I would have got the permission first. The entrance is not clear. To me it's a trap that anyone get in and get fined.


Why does everything have to be a conspiricy? They probably didn't have a big sign that says KEEP THE HELL OUT because most sane people wouldn't bother to go in there. They didn't take into account photographers...
02/01/2005 12:24:20 AM · #7
If you can get a lot of other people (e.g. photographers) to incriminate themselves and testify that it is a common practice to go in there and take pictures, you may be able to quash the charges on the grounds of selective/discriminatory prosecution or the equivalent.

Leaving a gate or door open is generally considered an invitation to enter the premises and look for the management -- that is what you were doing, right, looking around for the company representative so you could ask permission to take some photos?
02/01/2005 12:44:06 AM · #8
With the signage the way it is, and couple it with being able to prove you wandered in innocently as a photographer (i.e. can prove there was no malicious intent) I can't see you having too much trouble beating this at all.

Best of luck to you and please let us know how you go.
02/01/2005 12:46:15 AM · #9
I'd sit outside the gate and take photos of all the people going in to walk their dogs ... and take photos. Use your time/date feature. Then present the photos to the judge.

Melanie
02/01/2005 01:07:10 AM · #10
Originally posted by contestguru:

I'd sit outside the gate and take photos of all the people going in to walk their dogs ... and take photos. Use your time/date feature. Then present the photos to the judge.

Melanie

Just try not to get them all busted as well, or your popular support will wane rapidly : )
02/01/2005 08:34:40 AM · #11
Originally posted by GeneralE:

Originally posted by contestguru:

I'd sit outside the gate and take photos of all the people going in to walk their dogs ... and take photos. Use your time/date feature. Then present the photos to the judge.

Melanie

Just try not to get them all busted as well, or your popular support will wane rapidly : )


LOL, What I can easily get is trucks runing in and out loading stuff for those show company. In fact, I discover this place when I was a volunteer for one of shows which had the warehouse here.
02/01/2005 09:14:20 AM · #12
It occurs to me it might be those warehouses they're "protecting." Maybe you could get a "permission note" from the production company.
02/01/2005 09:53:46 AM · #13
Have you talked "nice" to the company. Even though it's after the fact, if you go in and tell them it was an innocent mistake and in the future you will ask permission to take photos they might drop the fine. If you accuse them of different things they will get defensive and fight you. If you say it's all your fault for not knowing how to get the proper paperwork they might back down.
02/01/2005 10:28:24 AM · #14
Here's another option and this is probably the best advice you have gotten so far. Get a lawyer.
02/01/2005 07:19:33 PM · #15
This is another catch. The offence I got is "go/be on railway land" and had nothing to do with those companies within. When I talked to the officers, they thought I was one of those train vandalists. They search my gear, of cause, no spreys, and I shown them the photos I took. I explained how I got in. One of them suggested that I show them the gateway and tended to let me go. But the senior officer didn't satisfy 'cuz the sign is there, regardless the whole open-wide gate area.

Not long, there was a man walking his dog came around and asked the officers if he could get in. He was surprised by it too.

I'll be getting a legal advice about this case next week. If I take it to the court I'd end up paying AU$1100.
02/01/2005 07:48:09 PM · #16
Too bad you didn't sprain your ankle -- in the US you'd sue them for medical damages and pain and suffering ... the open gate, the past behavior of other visitors, and their intermittent/inconsistent patrolling and enforcement creates what's called an "attractive nuisance," and could make them liable for damages you suffer on their property, even if there "illegally."

Don't forget to embarrass them in the press when the time comes ...
02/01/2005 08:16:07 PM · #17
Sounds like you were also a victim of a little brain with a big ego.

Common sense would dictate that yup, if they suspect you were a vandal they should check you out. If you are not they could let you stay or politely ask you to leave. There really was no need to prosecute.

However, it looks like the tiny brain/big ego syndrom has bitten you, as rather than back down this guy has decided to be a prick about it. There was a case in the UK recently with a cop who stopped a woman for talking on a mobile phone while driving ... no phone, it was an apple ... so she got prosecuted for driving with one hand anyway, rather than the cop admit he had made an error. Even worse, and this one is embarrassing for the police if you ask me .... a guy here in brisbane got arrested for having a keyring in the shape of handcuffs, as handcuffs were illegal to own at the time without a permit. Rather than the police admit their man on the beat made a bad call they decided to prosecute the poor guy, who now has a criminal record. These "handcuffs" were the novelty ones that people use as a key ring, and if slipped over your thumbs a child could pull on and they would snap. But I digress .......

One other thing to remember when you go to court, and I agree with general about embarrassing them to the max in the media .... you agreed to let them check your bag, which proves you were not up to mischief. You did not have to do that, you volunteered to do that, which also shows how willing you were to cooperate.

Message edited by author 2005-02-01 20:17:34.
02/01/2005 08:18:40 PM · #18
Don't take the matter to court straight away. Write a letter to the the infringement process bureau. These are representations and many notices are disposed of through this method.
In your letter you need to cover a few things. Firstly you have committed the offence because you were on railway land. So don't argue the point. You'd be better off expaining why you were there and how you came to be there and importantly why you thought you could be there. Include photos of the entry point you came in besure they show how poor the signage is. Include the storey about the man with the dog. Tell them that photgraphy is a serious pasttime for you and you thought the area was interesting from that point of view. Tell them how good a person you are and that you havn't been in trouble before (I'm take a guess here on your past. Don't lie to them they can check) and then ask that a caution be issued.

They may do that themselves or refer the letter back to the issuing officer for comment. Most important in this exersize is not to argue about it. If they take it that way they will just send you a letter saying take it to court. They may do this anyway, no guarntees, but it this best way to start.

I've issued thousand if infringements over the years so I do have some experience inhow the system works. If they knock you back then its time to go to court. If that happens PM me.

Best of luck
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