The use of the word ''mitigation'' is becoming a bit confused. If someone feels that they have been wrongly accused they can go to court, and the court could throw out the evidence. The person would essentially be not guilty of the offence of which they had been accused. Mitigation is usually where there has been a guilty plea or where the person has been found guilty and the offender wants to plead some very special circumstances. As I understand it, there may be some offences in respect of which magistrates have discretion over both the points and the financial penalty, but in most cases the law clearly sets out that the penalty points are mandatory. Generally, however, it is within the gift of the magistrates to operate their discretion over the financial penalty. The guidance to the court and the magistrates would not come from my Department. I am sure that careful note will be taken of the information that is given to the offender along with the notice. Safeguards are built into the proposal.
Question put and agreed to.
Clause 16 ordered to stand part of the Bill.