Dec 6, 2012

Don’t take your goat to town son …

Image; The Rocks police had trouble finding a charge for it and needed legal advice before a ticket could be issued. Finally, police put Gary and Jimbo in a paddy wagon to transport them to North Sydney. Picture: John Grainger Source, Daily Telegraph

Several years ago a friend, Woolfie mentioned a hilarious tale of his daughter who was a mad horse rider deciding to ride down the main drag in town.  About half way down the street she was pulled up by a cop who was determined that she must have been breaking some law even though he couldn’t put his finger on one at the time. 
What followed was half an hour of threats of fines or imprisonment, interspersed with radio calls to police HQ insisting that as there are laws against nearly everything, there must be something she could be charged with.  Eventually, she was allowed to go on her way.
‘Goat in the city’ is a similar tale.  Comedian, Jimbo Bazoobi took his pet goat, Gary for a walk through Sydney when a similar occurrence took place: 
Dear Police Commander of the Rocks,I am writing to you about an infringement notice I got issued from an incident that happened at Circular Quay at about 10am on 22/08/12.  It was issued by a constable whose first name is Shane. I’m not sure of his surname 
The issue related to my goat, which was eating grass at the park outside the MCA.On the day that Shane found me, the first thing he told me was that I’d broken a whole lot of laws.  I asked him to name one and from there the incident has escalated into what I feel is a complete waste of our court systems time and I ask you to consider dropping the matter before it becomes a complete tabloid farce.  Here is a brief summary of the situation from my angle.
I’m a comedian who travels around the country with my goat Gary. He’s incredibly tame, follows me everywhere and people love him.  On this particular day I was walking him down George St and was immediately followed by a Daily Telegraph photographer who thought it worth taking some snaps of.  He followed me all the way down to Circular Quay where I was surrounded by Shane and about four other police officers. 
Like I said before, Shane immediately started telling me that I’d broken a whole lot of laws.   I then asked,’ well can you name one?'  And from there on in, Shane didn’t like me very much.  He then spent over an hour detaining me while he tried to tell me what law I’d broken, while a crowd slowly built up around us. 
He couldn’t get me for an out of control animal because my goat wasn’t out of control. He couldn’t get me for not having it on a leash because it wasn’t a dog. This continued on to most people’s amusement except Shane’s.  In the end he let me go saying he was going to continue to find a law that I had broken and send the fine in the mail to me. 
In the meantime the Daily Telegraph sent in photos which made a colour spread on Page three the next day.  The link to the story (with Shane’s photo in it) is here:
The reporter made a point of asking the police what happened and they said (as reported in the newspaper) that there was no fine issued.  Shane obviously couldn’t let it go though because he sent me a fine for $440 for ‘damaging vegetation without authority’ about two month later.   The penalty notice is 4912388800 
I obviously didn’t want to pay this because a) it wasn’t me, it was my goat b) My goat wasn’t damaging vegetation. He was simply taking the top off some grass plus some leaves off some bushes (next to some council workers with a lawnmower and clippers who were doing the same thing.) 
So I applied for my fine to be contested in court assuming Shane wouldn’t be silly enough for this to be taken to court given that my key witness was a Daily Telegraph photographer who had been with me the whole time while taking photos of every move my goat did.  Anyway, it now looks like we’re all going to court over this on 23/1/12.  My case number is 2012/00336061. 
It’s listed as a crime under, ‘Damage, destroy, remove a tree, plant, other vegetation’.  I.e. Shane wants me at 42 years of age to have my first criminal record because he found my goat eating grass in public! 
To make things more farcical, it’s recently being pointed out to me that the Harbour Bridge and George Street is still classified as a stock route.  I’ve told all this information to several lawyers and they’ve all told me the case is going to be thrown out of court immediately, so I shouldn’t be worried about it. …
You have to wonder when, if ever, these idiots are ever going to develop a sense of humor, or at least leave things alone when there is no disturbance of the peace, nor anything that causes concern taking place.

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