The Supreme Court recently held that legislation requiring the forfeiture of motor vehicles is invalid. His Honour, Chief Justice Kourakis upheld the argument that:
…s 12(1)(a)(iii) of the Forfeiture Act (the Criminal Law (Clamping, Impounding and Forfeiture of Vehicles) Act 2007) is invalid because it requires the courts of this State to exercise powers, on the application of prosecution, which are incompatible with, and repugnant to, the exercise of judicial power under the Constitution.
It is understood that an appeal against the decision has now been lodged on behalf of Police. Currently some cases involving an application for forfeiture are being adjourned pending the outcome of the appeal to the Full Court of the Supreme Court.
Interestingly, prior to the judgment, it was reported in the SAPOL Annual Report for 2011-2012 that:
Police continued using powers under the Criminal Law(Clamping, Impounding and Forfeiture of Vehicles) Act 2007 to penalise hoon drivers. The Act allows police to seek the forfeiture of vehicles where the owner has been convicted of a forfeiture offence or other prescribed offences. Vehicles can be sold at auction, publicly crushed and disposed as scrap metal. For the reporting period, 7932 vehicles have been clamped or impounded, 26 vehicles sold by auction, 178 destroyed, and 6 vehicles publicly crushed.