A CLARKSON mother has been fined $3000 for hiring a car for someone with no driver’s licence then reporting the car stolen to cover up a crime.
Joondalup Magistrate’s Court heard on Friday that the woman hired a Toyota Corolla from Bayswater Car Rentals on August 3.
Then at 11.33am on August 7, the car was involved in a police chase in East Perth, which involved excessive speeding and driving through a red light, forcing police to stop their pursuit.
At 5pm that evening, the woman reported to police she had been robbed and the hire car was stolen.
Police attended and conducted a forensics analysis before checking the car’s GPS tracking device that showed it had never been to the woman’s home.
Duty lawyer Sophie Taylor said a friend of the woman’s ex-partner, who did not have a licence, paid her to hire the car.
“She was struggling for money and had broken up from her domestically violent partner so she was particularly vulnerable at the time,” Ms Taylor said.
She said when the driver later contacted her to report the car stolen, she was “reluctant but felt pressured”.
Ms Taylor said the pair were no longer associated and the woman, who is a single mother of a four-year-old girl, was in “a much better place now”.
“She understands she wasted police resources,” Ms Taylor said.
Magistrate Sandra De Maio said the woman was lucky she was only charged with creating a false belief and not perverting justice.
“This is up there on the scale of seriousness,” she said.
“It is more sinister than calling police to say you were robbed when you haven’t.”
The woman said she “knew from the start” she had done something wrong.
“I have done everything I can to get on the right track,” she said, which included now having a stable job.
Ms De Maio said while the woman had “glowing references” and she could see there had been a “significant change in circumstances”, the penalty could be up to 12 months in prison.
“You hired a car for someone with no licence then put yourself in way, way more trouble by covering up for him,” she said.
“I could so very nearly send you to jail.”
She fined the woman $3000 and ordered her to pay $225.90 in court costs.
“You could have done so much more with this money,” Ms De Maio said.