A few years ago a bloke called me wanting some legal help.
Turned out he was a mate of my fathers. Small World! He worked his whole life at the local abattoirs and as he approached retirement age, he upped the ante and put a way a heap of overtime in preparation for the later years. Upon the golden handshake, he figured he’s given most of his life to long work hours and thought that he’d give himself a little treat.
The shed out the back was full of miniature steam engines that on warm weekends he’d take out and run on some rails in the local parks, ferrying squawking kids around the circuit. He did it for nothing. Retirement was going to give him a whole lot more time for messing with these engines and he resolved that a bigger ute with a built-in canopy would make it easier carting not only the engines around the place, but all the parts he needed to build and maintain these things.
So, off to the second hand car dealer he went and he crossed paths with a bright blue Ford F100. He couldn’t resist it and despite the threat of fuel burning through his pocket, he figured that the money he would save running to and from work, would easily cover petrol costs. So, he brought it home, not before chaperoning it around a few old mates first.
A couple of months later, early one morning he goes out to his shed and there’s no F100, a few less steam engines and no tools in the shed. He calls the Police and they eventually find the car torched. No sign of the tools or engines. They find the guy who did it, charge him, put before the Courts and he’s jailed. In the course of his day in court, the Judge made no restitution order that the perpetrator compensate for the loss of property.
The lesson in this is, insurance will probably fall short of covering everything, but you have to have it. Relying on a Court to make a Restitution Order isn’t smart
Unfortunately for our bloke, the F100 wasn’t insured for theft and he bought himself a pushbike, spending most of his days inside the house.
The rub was also felt by a couple of store-owners recently who were in a similar position. Their shop was fleeced of some $10,000 by a 29 year old man and no order in that case was made either. There have been plenty of others as well.
The lesson in this is, insurance will probably fall short of covering everything, but you have to have it. Relying on a Court to make a Restitution Order isn’t smart, as in most States of Australia it will be at the Court’s discretion and it may be unlikely that they find in your favour if they believe that the perpetrator hasn’t got the financial means to pay you back in any case.