Auckland man fined $50k for illegally trading motor vehicles


An Auckland man has been fined the maximum $50,000 for "intentional flouting of the law" by trading motor vehicles while banned.

Brett Collins, who has five previous convictions for unlawfully trading vehicles, was found guilty of selling eight vehicles while banned.

He has previously been fined $30,000 for similar offending.

Judge Russell Collins imposed the maximum fine in the Auckland District Court on May 18 because of the defendant's repeat offending, and ordered he pay $5000 towards costs of prosecution.

"Without question, Mr Collins' case this time falls into the band of the most serious cases and that is because his blatant recidivism and disregard of the law brings him within that category," Judge Collins said in his decision.

Collins appealed the sentence, saying the fine outweighed the charge, but failed to appear when the matter was first called.

He later failed to file submissions, and failed to appear again when the appeal was heard in court. The High Court dismissed the appeal on September 6.

"Mr Collins has clearly chosen to flout the law," the High Court judgement said.

"Previous fines have obviously had no effect on Mr Collins. He knows the fines have become progressively more severe, but he continue to offend nonetheless.

"Judge Paul observed, when he sentenced Mr Collins in June 2014, that fines imposed in this area cannot be regarded as a licence fee to break the law. It is clear that Mr Collins now regards fines in that way because he appears content to pay them in order to continue reoffending."

The court believed Collins was "not willing to deviate from his chosen path of offending".

Motor Vehicle Traders registrar Stephen O'Brien said Collins "knowingly broke the law on numerous occasions by continuing to sell cars while banned from registering on the Motor Vehicle Traders register".

"Between 2001 and 2014 Mr Collins received five convictions and fines for selling motor vehicles when not registered as a trader and for trading while banned.

"This latest fine reflects Mr Collins' repeated and intentional flouting of the law for commercial gain; a compelling factor for the judge to impose the maximum penalty for individuals of $50,000.

"The Motor Vehicle Sales Act is there to protect consumers by ensuring traders abide by certain conditions, such as not being banned from motor vehicle trading or being bankrupt, and requires traders to provide purchasers with information and also allows recourse through the Motor Vehicle Disputes Tribunal.

"Consumers can check their trader is registered on the Motor Vehicle Traders Register to ensure they have protection should there be issues with the vehicle," O'Brien said.

- NZ Herald

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