THE Melbourne City Council is challenging the power of magistrates to make offenders pay money to charities as part of their punishment, in a decision the non-profit sector fears will cost them millions of dollars.
It is appealing a decision from 2011 when a magistrate required an individual who pleaded guilty to breaching the Food Act to donate $2500 to St Vincent De Paul's food van service. It is common practice for magistrates to require offenders to make a payment to a charity when they release them without conviction.
At issue is whether a payment to a charity is considered a fine under the Sentencing Act. A lot of uneasy charities over here at the moment........
City challenges charity penalties